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Private contractors paid millions to run UK detention centres

The British government has paid hundreds of millions of pounds to private contractors to run its detention facilities, but no one knows for certain just how profitable the industry is. “One of the 10 UK facilities is run by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, but the rest are contracted out to outsourcing firms G4S, Mitie, Serco and the US-owned GEO Group. (…) Commercial confidentiality agreements mean the Home Office and outsourcing companies are not obliged to publish detailed financial information about immigration detention centers in the UK. But figures released under freedom of information laws and published on the government’s Contracts Finder website show the value of some contracts when they were awarded. (…) The profitability of detention facilities has proved to be a contentious issue for the contractors. A Guardian investigation last year pointed to a 20.7% profit margin at the G4S-owned Brook House in 2016, while at Tinsley House the margin was 41.5%. (…) GEO Group, which operates Dungavel House, Scotland’s only detention center, may be making up to 30% profits on its contract, according to an analysis by Corporate Watch.”

Contract won't be renewed for privately-run maximum security prison

After a devastating parliamentary inquiry into GEO Group’s operation of the scandal-plagued Parklea prison, the New South Wales government says GEO’s contract will be cancelled. The Public Service Association has called on the state government to hand back the prison to public management, but the Daily Mail reports that “the prison management contract will instead be taken over by either G4S, Serco or joint venture partners MTC/Broadspectrum in March 2019.”

Source: Mail Online

Republicans Say Forced Labor Is Good for Detained Immigrants in Letter Defending Private Prison

Private, for-profit prison companies that force immigrant detainees to work for little or no money have some new supporters: eighteen Republican members of Congress. The lawmakers “sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Department of Labor, calling for them to help private-prison company GEO Group defend itself in lawsuits by former detainees. (… ) GEO Group filed the congressmen’s letter with U.S. District Court in the Central District of California on March 12 as part of the Novoa v. GEO Group suit. It argues that immigrants should not be able to sue prison companies because they aren’t employees there, and that paying them $1 per day for their work is lawful. The letter also said that the allegedly forced labor saves the government money and improves detainees’ morale.” Three of the lawmakers are from Georgia, which has a dark history of chain gangs, convict leasing, cruelty and forced labor

Source: The Daily Beast

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Buying Influence. How Private Prison Companies Expand Their Control of America’s Criminal Justice System

"In the Public Interest" has published a comprehensive report on how private prison companies are buying influence to expand their control of the U.S. criminal justice system. This report explores the ways corrections companies influence public officials. It is divided into three sections, each of which studies a separate avenue of influence: campaign contributions, lobbying, and professional corrections associations.

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