In another sign that ICE remains committed to business-as-usual in the closing days of the Obama Administration, the agency responsible for maintaining custody of people facing the possibility of forced removal from the United States signed a new contract with private prison giant GEO Group to open a 780-bed facility in Georgia. The second largest private prison corporation operating in the United States, GEO’s safety track-record is horrendous. A recent report by journalist Dorian Merino found that at least three people died inside a single GEO facility over a four-year period. Two years ago, ICE reviewed the same prison and found twenty-six instances in which GEO failed to meet agency standards. Similar problems have been found in other facilities that GEO operates on behalf of ICE.
This troubling record is apparently not enough to dissuade ICE. In a press release issued yesterday (December 19, 2016), GEO announced that the new contract is expected to generate approximately $21 million in new revenue. The company expects to open beginning imprisoning migrants at the facility, to be named the Folkston ICE Processing Center, during the first quarter of 2017.
Last week GEO’s principal competitor, the Corrections Corporation of American (newly renamed CoreCivic) announced a new contract for a 2,016-bed immigration prison in Ohio. Combined, in the last week alone private prison companies have announced new contracts with ICE for almost 3,000 beds.