More Than a Jail: Immigrant Detention and the Smell of Money
Date:  08-07-2018

Special Report: The Vera Institute examines the connection between the growing criminalization of immigration and rural jail expansion in the United States
From Vera Institute of Justice:

In rural southern Florida, on the western edge of Lake Okeechobee, Glades County is a hub of incarceration, immigrant detention, and deportation. Thirteen percent of adults in the county are living behind bars—some at a private prison and some at the Glades County Detention Center, the county jail.

How did this happen?

Part of the answer is that county leaders, working with private investors, attempted to tie the economic well-being of their community to increasing immigrant detention. This is a story of a public jail being used to turn a tax-free profit for investors who wagered on the expansion of punitive and draconian immigration policy. It brings to light the complicity between the public and private sectors in the continuation and growth of mass incarceration. In the case of Glades County, this was highlighted when a recent IRS ruling challenged the tax-exempt status of the bonds that were used to finance the jail. This is not a unique story. This example illustrates the connection between the growing criminalization of immigration and rural jail expansion in the United States. By following the money, one can better understand some of the financial interests behind the continued growth of public jails and prisons. Continue reading >>>