As Asylum Seekers Swap Prison Beds For Ankle Bracelets, Same Firm Profits

Source: John Burnett, NPR, November 13, 2015

Under the pressure of a federal court order, ICE is now exploring ways to release the mothers and children with alternatives to detention — but human rights activists are unhappy that the same for-profit prison company that locked up the families now manages their cases after release. A dozen young Central American mothers in jeans and sneakers wait in a corner of the Greyhound station in downtown San Antonio. Each of them has a chunky, black, blinking device about the size of an olive jar strapped to her ankle: an electronic monitor. … These immigrant women — with their fussy kids eating french fries — have no idea that their odyssey through the American asylum process is making tens of millions of dollars in profits for a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The GEO Group calls itself “the world leader in private correctional, detention management, and community residential re-entry services,” and ICE is one of its major customers. … Last year, GEO Care earned $330 million — about a fifth of the corporation’s $1.7 billion in revenue. This year, the government will pay GEO $56 million to manage ankle monitors for 10,000 immigrants, and to run telephone check-ins for 20,000 immigrants. The idea is to keep track of released detainees to make sure they show up for ICE check-ins and court appearances. And there’s more: In September, ICE selected GEO Care to administer a first-of-its-kind pilot project, worth $11 million, to do case management for released immigrants.