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Trump's Reinstitution of For-Profit Prisons

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For-profit prisons are not a new institution to the United States criminal justice system. However, in the wake of the Trump administration's hard-hitting policies to deter illegal immigration into the United States, for-profit prisons have seen increasing improvements to their top and bottom lines. While the prison system has adjusted to accommodate the increasing number of detained immigrant families, for-profit prisons have reaped a significant share of these rewards.

Trump’s reinstitution of for-profit prisons began when his zero-tolerance directive first went into effect in 2018. It became increasingly common to see immigrant families separated from one another and detained in these facilities as they awaited criminal prosecution or deportation.

Background on For-Profit Jails and Holding Facilities

Many people are entirely unaware that for-profit or private prisons comprise such a large part of the correctional system in the United States. Historically, for-profit prisons were responsible for housing a significant number of immigrants detained or awaiting deportation in the United States. However, since President Trump's zero-tolerance immigration policy began its implementation in 2018, funding to for-profit prisons has grown exponentially. This is primarily due to a considerable increase of immigrant detention in these facilities.

Toward the end of his administration, President Obama wanted to end the government’s reliance on these private prisons when it came to housing illegal immigrants. However, all of this changed during the era of Trump. For-profit prisons supported the Trump Administration early on, and now with everything that is happening with immigrants at the borders, you are paying significant amounts of money to these for-profit companies that donated heavily to the current president.

To understand the motive behind for-profit jails, you must understand the benefits that a for-profit prison can bring both for the government contractor that owns the facility as well as for the government. The government has far less of a financial outlay than would otherwise be incurred in funding a traditional correctional facility. Additionally, the government pays for-profit prisons according to how many people are incarcerated in their facility.

For-Profit Prisons Used as Holding Facilities for Illegal Immigrants

The original solution to housing the mass influx of detainees and deportees was to make use of current prison beds or fund the building of additional jails. However, in the years since the enactment of Trump's zero-tolerance policy, for-profit prisons have enjoyed landmark prosperity as mass holding facilities for individuals awaiting prosecution or deportation from the country.

This is concerning because while the for-profit prison system is a billion-dollar industry, many of these facilities subject detainees to inadequate living conditions and the removal of fundamental human rights. Reports evaluating these for-profit prisons describe appalling conditions from deteriorating toilet facilities to unsafe food standards. Other evaluations show that many detainees are left without protection and are subject to abuse from fellow inmates, as well as correctional officers.

Concerns regarding the negligent care of immigrant inmates at for-profit prisons have and continue to be well-documented. The incredibly lucrative opportunity that immigrant detainment presents to for-profit prisons is one of the prime reasons that these institutions have flourished in the past and continue to do so under the present administration. Learn more about how Trump’s reinstitution of for-profit prison could affect you and your loved ones by calling today.

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