Beginning in 2009, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has worked under a statutory quota that requires the agency maintain 34,000 detainees in its custody at all times, at the estimated cost of $120 per detainee per day. This so-called bed mandate was introduced into the Homeland Security Department’s appropriation bill by former Democratic Senator of West Virginia, Robert Byrd. Although the mandate has existed for roughly four years, it has only recently gained mainstream attention. The lack of attention surrounding the bed mandate is surprising given the complexity of the problems it creates. The mandate pits the federal government’s interest in enforcing immigration laws and the interests of for-profit prison operators in steady revenue streams against the taxpayers’ interest in efficient government and the interests of the detainees and their families in fair and humane treatment. Ultimately, because of the immense revenues generated from government contracts resulting from the mandate, it appears that it is the private prison operators that come away victorious.
Read More... (The Bed Quota: Mandatory Detention and the Denial of Justice)
| Posted by Irving E. Figueroa on Fri. January 31, 2014 4:00 PM
Categories: Captive Audience: Incarceration and the Family