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New report from the Sentencing Project on private prison and detention growth

July 23, 2012

Re-posted from the Sentencing Project

The Sentencing Project released a new report,  Dollars and Detainees: The Growth of For-Profit Detention. The report details how harsher immigration enforcement and legislation led to a 59 percent increase in the number of detainees being held by the federal government between 2002 and 2011. It specifically examines how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) have increasingly relied on private companies to detain these individuals, as well as the complex network of facilities that house federal detainees, and the failings of private detention.

Among the report’s major findings:

• Between 2002 and 2011 the number of privately held ICE detainees increased by 208 percent, while the number of USMS detainees held in private facilities grew by 355 percent.
• In 2011, 45 percent of ICE detainees and 30 percent of USMS detainees were held by private companies.
• Federal detainees are held in a complex network of facilities in which information on where individuals are being held, and by whom is often unavailable or incomplete.
• The private detention industry is dominated by the same companies that are regularly criticized for their management of private prisons.
• Concerns raised in the context of private prisons, including unsatisfactory levels of service, negative political and policy implications, and questionable economic effects, apply equally to private detention.

The full report, Dollars and Detainees: The Growth of For-Profit Detention, includes a list of the privately-operated facilities actively employed by ICE and USMS, as well as detailed graphs and data on the growth of private detention, and the lobbying activities of Corrections Corporation of America.

We hope you find this publication useful in your work and we encourage you to be in touch with the author of the report, Program Associate Cody Mason at cmason@sentencingproject.org.

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