ICYMI: D1A Fact-Checks Common Myths About Private Sector Contractors On Christian Science Monitor Podcast
August 28, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC — Day 1 Alliance spokesperson Alexandra Wilkes joined the Christian Science Monitor’s “Perception Gaps: Locked Up,” podcast to address common misconceptions and distortions about the role private contractors play in our nation’s criminal justice and immigration systems. Here are the top takeaways from her interview with CSM’s Samantha Laine Perfas and Jessica Mendoza:
Setting the record straight on mass incarceration:
Alexandra Wilkes: “One of the big misconceptions about the industry is that somehow the contractor-operated facilities are the ones that are driving mass incarceration, and the math just does not bear that out.”
On the benefits to taxpayers, facility conditions, oversight, and other general criticism of public-private partnerships in corrections:
Alexandra Wilkes: “With a taxpayer funded facility, the taxpayers are responsible for the upkeep of that facility. They’re responsible for the employees of that facility. And what you don’t want is a situation where taxpayers are left holding the bag for operating huge facilities and huge payrolls and pensions for immigration levels that don’t meet that need. And I think that one of the key reasons you need the industry is to provide flexibility.”
“Any of those standards, whether it is the size of the cell, the permissions with regards to family visits – those are all set by the government. There’s this idea out there that somehow if it’s a contractor it means that the contractor is cutting corners. That’s not the case at all. If the contractor were cutting corners they wouldn’t be meeting their obligations under their government contract, which would cause a serious dispute.”
“And there is constant compliance monitoring of that [federal] contract. One of the facilities I visited has a daycare center. The relevant state agency that manages daycare facilities just in general, is on-site, doing inspections as they would any other day care center in the state of Texas. The relevant state agency for overseeing health inspections is looking at the cafeterias. So everywhere you look there is some person that is responsible for compliance.”
On the federal government’s role in setting corrections and immigration policy:
Alexandra Wilkes: “We have no say in the disposition of who comes into these centers. You know, our organizations are not Border Patrol, they are not ICE…these individuals are brought into our care. And I should note from the outset that the industry actually has made it a point to never lobby on the duration or status of anyone’s immigration. So we don’t get involved in setting immigration policy. Our companies have nothing to do with that. You know, again, we are not one of the drivers of mass incarceration. There is no perverse profit incentive for us to keep people in our care.”
**Bonus Fact Check: Christian Science Monitor confirms that private sector contractors are NOT the cause of mass incarceration:
Host Samantha Laine Perfas notes: “Alexandra makes the point several times throughout the conversation: private prison companies are not the main cause of mass incarceration. And to be fair, that’s true.”
You can listen to the full podcast here.
ABOUT THE DAY 1 ALLIANCE:
The Day 1 Alliance (D1A) is a trade association representing private sector contractors helping 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, LaSalle Corrections, and Management & Training Corporation.
Learn more at day1alliance.org and follow us on Twitter @TheDay1Alliance.