Monday, May 22, 2006

Family detentions improve CCA fortunes (updated with video)

Update 5/5/07: Salon reports here that "Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest provider of corrections management services ... announced a 44.4 percent increase in earnings for the first quarter of 2007 in part as a result of federal revenues 'favorably impacted by new contracts from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ('ICE') at our T. Don Hutto Residential Center, our Stewart Detention Center and our Eloy Detention Center.'">

The Tennessean reports in this article that stepped-up efforts to enforce existing immigration laws will put more families behind bars but help the business outlook of Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America. CCA has seen a 59% increase in revenues from immigration incarceration since 2001, according to a graphic published with the story, and one prison that was previously scheduled for closure was recently re-opened to house immigrant families.

"At the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, there's a playground for children and murals painted on the walls. There's carpet on the floors of detention cells but no locks on the doors."

"Only the second detention facility in the nation designed to house families, the center is part of a new push by U.S. immigration authorities to detain rather than release illegal immigrants awaiting deportation."

"The location is owned and run by Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America, which, like other private prison operators, is bracing for an increase in business from measures to curb illegal immigration. The Hutto Center opened last week under a contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, reversing last year's decision by CCA to shut down the then-underutilized prison."

"'It's a tremendous opportunity for CCA because they have some empty facilities,' said Richard Crane, a Nashville privatization consultant and director of Houston prison operator Cornell Cos."

Forbes magazine reported in 2005 that private prison operators like CCA are finding their economic salvation in sharp increases in federal incarcerations (story here).

In December 2003 CCA named Donna Alvarado to its board (story here). Ms. Alvarado is the only woman and only Hispanic on CCA's board of directors.

Update 8:24 a.m.: Vanderbilt student Gentry Underwood has created this video about immigration detentions, which was featured on Democracy Now.

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