Private sector contractors are among the nation’s leaders in programming aimed at reducing recidivism and helping incarcerated people develop the skills they need to become productive members of society when they are released. These include GED programs, vocational training, chaplaincy and religious training services, drug and alcohol treatment, and victim-impact training, among many others.
D1A members support criminal justice reform efforts, including for example the bipartisan First Step Act, a landmark prison reform and recidivism reduction bill passed by Congress and signed into law last year.
When it comes to detention, D1A members have partnered with Democratic and Republican elected officials for decades to protect the American taxpayer. When elected officials change immigration policy – or immigration flows go up or down – these public-private partnerships make sure taxpayers aren’t left holding the bag with billions of dollars worth of empty buildings and tens of thousands of federal employees on the payroll. Instead, the federal government can use flexible partnerships with the private sector to meet its public safety needs in a cost-effective, flexible manner.
Contractor facilities are outfitted specifically to care for individuals going through the immigration review process — rather than holding them in jail — and treating them with the dignity and respect they deserve. These facilities are also held to higher standards, including the federal government’s Performance-Based National Detention Standards, which jails typically are not. Contractors’ modern processing centers provide in-house health care services, access to the US legal system — including lawyers and online courtrooms – as well as immigrant-rights advocates, religious services, recreation, and more.
If contractors were barred from operating ICE processing centers tomorrow, tens of thousands of immigrants would be transferred to local jails, where they would be housed alongside dangerous criminals, likely in overcrowded conditions and with less access to the critical services they receive in current contractor facilities. Over the course of a year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants would be negatively impacted.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for the care of unaccompanied minors and no member of D1A contracts with HHS to operate such facilities. D1A members do not operate any border patrol facilities.
D1A members do not operate facilities housing unaccompanied minors, or isolate children from their parents. By contrast, contractors such as CoreCivic and The GEO Group actually worked with the Obama Administration to establish and operate facilities specifically designed for migrant parents and their children to be cared for together, with health care, legal support, and education services provided.
Public safety is better served by well managed and specifically outfitted correctional facilities and services that provide a safe, humane environment conducive to helping individuals better themselves before successfully rejoining their communities and families.
D1A member organizations offer meaningful solutions that help government fulfill its fundamental responsibility to public safety. In doing so, they adhere to the highest government and industry standards of care, training, and reentry programming to ensure better outcomes along with strong accountability and oversight.
The safety and security of the American public, facility staff, and those in our care should always be prioritized. D1A believes that safe facilities make rehabilitation possible by fostering environments in which reentry programming can thrive.