D1A Debunks Falsehoods About the Origin and Role of Contractors in the Criminal Justice System

May 20, 2024

WASHINGTONDay 1 Alliance (D1A), the trade association representing private-sector criminal justice and immigration system contractors, authored a Letter to the Editor published in The Sun Sentinel pushing back on misconceptions contained in an op-ed published earlier this month:

The role of private prisons

The author of the May 8 op-ed essay, “Tarring of Mariel arrivals parallels demonization of present-day migrants,” Thomas Kennedy, repeats long-debunked falsehoods about the origin and role of private sector contractors in the U.S. criminal justice and immigration systems.

Governments first began using contractors in the 1980s to address widespread prison overcrowding and dangerous conditions that put incarcerated people’s lives at risk, not because of the Mariel boatlift. Then as now, contractors are a limited but valuable part of the solution to challenges facing our government. Just 7% of imprisoned individuals are in contractor-operated facilities.

It’s also vitally important to remember that contractors play no role in determining immigration policy or enforcing immigration laws. Those decisions made by Congress, judges, juries, law enforcement and other government agencies.

For more than 40 years, contractors have worked with Democratic and Republican administrations to deliver dignified, culturally sensitive, quality care to men and women navigating the criminal justice and immigration systems. Our member companies are subject to strict federal DHS standards of care and multiple levels of government oversight.

Alexandra Wilkes, Washington, D.C.

The writer is spokeswoman for the Day 1 Alliance, a private prison industry trade organization.

About the Day 1 Alliance:

The Day 1 Alliance (D1A) is a trade association representing private sector contractors helping government agencies address corrections and detention challenges in the United States. For more than 35 years, D1A members have worked with local, state, and federal governments led by members of both political parties to provide professional, humane, and respectful treatment to incarcerated and detained individuals. From day one, we understand we have a responsibility to provide safe and dignified care to those in our facilities. D1A members do not lobby for or against policies, regulations, or legislation that impact the basis for or duration of an individual’s incarceration or detention.

The members of the Day 1 Alliance are CoreCivic, The GEO Group, Management & Training Corporation, and LaSalle Corrections.

Learn more at day1alliance.org and follow us on Twitter @TheDay1Alliance.

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