Immigrant Detention Increasingly Privatized

Governments eager to tout their toughness on immigration are increasingly turning to private companies, many of which have a long history of human-rights abuses. In Australia, whose immigrant-detention program is heavily privatized, detention centers have seen suicidal protests, the confinement of legal residents, and scandalous prisoner deaths. Private companies control nearly half the detention beds in the United States, compared with only 8 percent in state and federal prisons. “We have lost control,” says Western Australia’s former chief prison inspector. “These big global companies, in relation to specific activities, are more powerful than the governments they’re dealing with.”