D1A Sends Letter To As You Sow CEO Setting The Record Straight On Government Contractors
August 12, 2020
Mr. Andrew Behar
As You Sow
PO Box 751
Berkeley, CA 94701
Dear Mr. Behar:
I write to address your comments as reported in Fast Company this week, and the new website from your organization attacking members of the Day 1 Alliance, a national trade association representing longtime federal and state government contractors working in the corrections and immigration systems across the United States.
While you are obviously entitled to your own opinions about the work our members do, you are not entitled to your own facts.
Several of your statements to both Fast Company and on your website are outright lies:
- Our members have never, as you state in the article, lobbied “for mandatory minimums.” In fact, our members have long-standing, zero-tolerance policies against lobbying for or against policies, regulations, or legislation that impact the basis for or duration of an individual’s incarceration or detention.
- Your website cites “mass incarceration” as a consequence of our members’ work. This is demonstrably false. Just 8% of incarcerated men and women in the US are housed in contractor-operated correctional facilities. As Fordham University professor and criminal justice expert John Pfaff states: “It ultimately is the public sector, not the private, that is at the heart of mass incarceration.” It’s our elected representatives who write and enforce the laws that determine who goes to prison and for how long. Your website mentions none of this.
- You claim our members are somehow involved in “the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border and the policing of immigration.” This is false. In fact, for decades, under Democratic and Republican administrations, the US government has contracted with recognized government contractors to care for individuals going through the civil immigration review process, rather than holding them in jail. Our members do not enforce immigration laws or arrest anyone who may be in violation of immigration laws, and operate under multiple levels of oversight, including the federal government’s Performance-Based National Detention Standards, passed under President Obama.
- Contractors’ modern processing centers provide in-house health care services, access to the US legal system, as well as immigrant-rights advocates, religious services, and recreation – far more services than are generally available at local jails. Indeed, ICE detainees recently launched a hunger strike protesting conditions at a publicly-run county jail in Colorado, and are demanding to be transferred back to a contractor-operated facility because of the services it provided.
- Further, our members do not, and have never, operated 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.
While we respect your right to oppose the use of government contractors in criminal justice and immigration, attempting to advance your agenda by defaming our members with outright falsehoods is dishonest and reprehensible.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns you may have and to set the record straight, but we will not tolerate these disinformation campaigns aimed at maligning our member companies, and their thousands of dedicated employees who work hard every day to do right by those entrusted to their care.
Day 1 Alliance