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August 20, 2012 (The Sentencing Project)

New Report Details the Growth of For-Profit Federal Detention

Dollars and Detainees: The Growth of For-Profit Detention details how harsher immigration enforcement and legislation led to a 59 percent increase in the number of detainees being held by the federal government between 2002 and 2011. It specifically examines how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) have increasingly relied on private companies to detain these individuals, as well as the complex network of facilities that house federal detainees, and the failings of private detention.Federal Detainee Average Daily Populations

Federal Detainee Average Daily Populations

Among the report's major findings:

• Between 2002 and 2011 the number of privately held ICE detainees increased by 208 percent, while the number of USMS detainees held in private facilities grew by 355 percent.

• In 2011, 45 percent of ICE detainees and 30 percent of USMS detainees were held by private companies.

• Federal detainees are held in a complex network of facilities in which information on where individuals are being held, and by whom is often unavailable or incomplete.

• The private detention industry is dominated by the same companies that are regularly criticized for their management of private prisons. 

• Concerns raised in the context of private prisons, including unsatisfactory levels of service, negative political and policy implications, and questionable economic effects, apply equally to private detention.

The full report can be found here.

Author: Cody Mason
Issue Area(s): Sentencing Policy, Incarceration