Privately run immigration detention is so violent that prisoners beg to be kept in solitary

Originally published at:


This made me go revisit Pussy Riot’s “Make America Great Again”.


If the bar lowers any further, all they’ll need to reach PRC levels is forced organ donation.


How can it even be economically expedient to be so uncaring? Surely a placated population is easier, and therefore cheaper, to contain?


I can’t wait for the Trump armbands to appear.


There was a case a few weeks back in which a private detention facility had been holding a woman for a year on immigration charges, she was sent to hospital after collapsing with seizures and nosebleed, the hospital found a brain tumor and scheduled surgery … and the detention center sent ICE agents to get her out of pre-op and back into their prison. I guess they didn’t want to pay for the surgery.

Also: I hope everyone has read Shane Bauer’s account in Mother Jones of his four months as a guard in a for-profit prison. And keep in mind, that’s how we care for our own citizens, people who have defined sentences and are going to be released into our communities, who have far more ability to muster decent lawyers in real (non-immigration) courts, whose friends and relatives might know their state legislators.


Depressingly I don’t think economic expediency is the intent. Making current immigrants an example to try and dissuade those who are thinking about coming here is probably the most likely intent.


It still amazes me that anyone bar the corrupt owners of such prisons/detention centres think a privately run prison is a sane idea…

Just think about it: with the profit motive, the most profitable way to run the place will be found. In some areas, this might lead to the best product as that’ll get the most sales. but on something like this the ‘customer’ is not impacted by the results at all.

So that inevitably leads to the minimum possible service quality they can get away with, minimal pay for the staff and maximum possible price charged. On all three areas the profit motive will give the worst possible outcome here…


To fight this, at least in Georgia, support the SPLC.


Fear will bring the prisoners in line.


From a review of KL

In the late thirties, driven largely by Himmler’s ambition to make the S.S. an independent economic and military power within the state, the K.L. began a transformation from a site of punishment to a site of production. The two missions were connected: the “work-shy” and other unproductive elements were seen as “useless mouths,” and forced labor was a way of making them contribute to the community. Oswald Pohl, the S.S. bureaucrat in charge of economic affairs, had gained control of the camps by 1938, and began a series of grandiose building projects. The most ambitious was the construction of a brick factory near Sachsenhausen, which was intended to produce a hundred and fifty million bricks a year, using cutting-edge equipment and camp labor.

The failure of the factory, as Wachsmann describes it, was indicative of the incompetence of the S.S. and the inconsistency of its vision for the camps. To turn prisoners into effective laborers would have required giving them adequate food and rest, not to mention training and equipment. It would have meant treating them like employees rather than like enemies. But the ideological momentum of the camps made this inconceivable. Labor was seen as a punishment and a weapon, which meant that it had to be extorted under the worst possible circumstances. Prisoners were made to build the factory in the depths of winter, with no coats or gloves, and no tools. “Inmates carried piles of sand in their uniforms,” Wachsmann writes, while others “moved large mounds of earth on rickety wooden stretchers or shifted sacks of cement on their shoulders.” Four hundred and twenty-nine prisoners died and countless more were injured, yet in the end not a single brick was produced.


A placated population is much less fun for them.


Someone inform them that you’re not supposed to take lessons on how to run a prison by watching episodes of Oz.


Something doesn’t ring true here.

…life inside the facilities can be so dangerous and hostile that numerous detainees have voluntarily admitted themselves to solitary confinement just to seek refuge from the general population," and the remaining solitary confinement cells were routinely used to punish inmates for minor infractions like “horseplay” and talking back to guards.

So solitary cells were so plentiful they could be used to punish horseplay, but so scarce they couldn’t be used to discourage “dangerous and hostile” behavior?


discourage joy. encourage fear. extinguish hope.


Well, surely public execution would be more effective?

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But the special interests are profiting. That’s what counts. And all that counts.


so what do we do?

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You are assuming the “people” who run these are sane to begin with.