Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

$11 Toothbrushes: Do We Need Price Controls at Private Immigration Detention Centers?

Do we need price controls at private immigration detention centers?

by Countable | Updated on 1.18.19

What’s the story?

  • Unauthorized immigrants detained in detention centers work for $1-a-day and face prices like $3.25 for a can of tuna, $11.02 for a 4 oz. tube of toothpaste, and $2.44 for a bar of Dove soap.
  • Immigrants, activists, and lawyers say private detention facilities such as Adelanto, in Central California, boost commissary prices in order to harness cheap inmate labor to lower operating costs and boost profits.
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) paid more than $800 million in taxpayer money to 19 private, for-profit immigration detention centers in 2018.

What are both sides saying?

  • Adelanto is owned by Geo Group Inc, the nation’s largest for-profit corrections company. Their spokesperson Pablo Paez told Reuters the allegations are “completely false” and the prices are “are in line with comparable local markets.”
  • But many immigrant detainees say scrubbing toilets and mopping floors is the only way to earn enough money to stay clean and well-fed.
  • Last year, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a class-action suit against CoreCivic Inc, the nation’s second-largest for-profit prison operator.
You “either work for a few cents an hour or live without basic things like soap, shampoo, deodorant and food,” detainee Wilhen Hill Barrientos, 67, said in the lawsuit.
  • “These private prison companies are profiting off of what is essentially a company-store scenario,” Meredith Stewart, the SPLC’s lead attorney on the class action, told Reuters.

How private prisons work

  • Private prisons receive stipends from the government to manage and operate detention facilities.
  • In order to receive the stipend, the private-prison’s costs must be lower than that of a public prison.
“And just like any business, the more costs they can cut, the bigger that profit margin will be,” CNBC wrote. “But many times, that results in poor quality of care for prisoners.”

What do you think?

Do we need price controls at private detention centers? Should this be part of another prison reform bill? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / JodiJacobson)

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(238)
  • BeStrong
    Voted Yes
    01/18/2019
    ···

    Dear Congress, You need to get the for profit prison Geo Group out of America’s detainee Business NOW. Don’t renew their contract or Cancel for Cause. Do it.

    Like (77)
    Follow
    Share
  • Carl
    01/18/2019
    ···

    We need to stop full time without end detention centers. These folks were seeking asylum not slavery and by no means a repeat of the Grapes of Wrath scenario that charged workers for sub par housing, use of only the company store so that in the end they owed the Company more than they could make. Worse than slavery really sadistic approach. What have we become?

    Like (35)
    Follow
    Share
  • JTJ
    Voted No
    01/18/2019
    ···

    God forbid a person would have to work to have basic necessities. How much are they paying for their healthcare, or their shelter? Oh nothing, I’m paying for that. If you don’t like it, don’t break into our country. Criminal freeloaders.

    Like (18)
    Follow
    Share
  • Teresa
    Voted Maybe
    01/19/2019
    ···

    Let’s get rid of these centers and just send these people back to their own country. Why are you spending my tax dollars housing them.

    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
  • Chickie
    Voted Yes
    01/18/2019
    ···

    First, let’s call these for profit detention centers by what they really are, concentration camps. Secondly, we shouldn’t be using camps, PERIOD! They’re contractors who follow their own rules. If they are charging $11 for toothbrushes, fire them for price grouching; then get down to business and overhaul our immigration system. Separating babies from their parents, placing families in nothing better than concentration camps is in itself a crime. The U.S. has thousands of churches who file as non-profits. Gather the leaders of chuches and have them involved in sponsoring the asylum seekers. This will save money from hiring for profit camps. As well as providing compassion to people who have come from horrific situations. All we have done is taken human beings and treating them as cattle. Herding then into for profit camps where they are held behind bars, electrical fencing; babies separated from their parents. Come on! We are the United States of America ~ not the Bozo-in-Chief Reality show, where dysfunction rules, hatred is served up like mashed potatoes smothered in racist vitriol. We are so much better than what we have become.

    Like (51)
    Follow
    Share
  • Joel
    01/18/2019
    ···

    It is simply immoral to make these people pay tons of moneyfor things we can buy for 50 cents

    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
  • Craig
    Voted No
    01/18/2019
    ···

    Bus them all to Pelosi house. She only works for them.

    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
  • Judith
    Voted Maybe
    01/18/2019
    ···

    Isn’t that what companies do when it is with the government! No one over sees the prices they charge! Even the hospitals..changing outrages prices?..$4-5 for a single aspirin.. Once they get into the US..they get everything free!

    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
  • Kari
    Voted Yes
    01/18/2019
    ···

    But better yet, stop wasting my taxes dollars holding people in concentration camps and start using that money to actually help them. What is happening here is nothing short of criminal.

    Like (27)
    Follow
    Share
  • murf
    Voted Yes
    01/18/2019
    ···

    They should be providing the essentials for free. What the hell are we paying them 100s of millions of dollars for? Not to make a profit from slave labor. If the government wants to sub out these prisons they should be non profit. Making a profit from other’s misery is 3rd world, banana republic, US Fruit BS.

    Like (20)
    Follow
    Share
  • SunsetsInSpain
    Voted Yes
    01/19/2019
    ···

    What is happening in these concentration camps is inhumane. I am a homeland security student - part of my degree involves studying immigration laws and procedures. What ICE is doing is not ethical enforcement and administration of immigration policy, nor is it doing anything to prevent criminals and terrorists from entering this country. We’re acting like the terrorists here. Paying slave wages for labor, price gouging basic hygienic necessities, separating children from parents - these are reprehensible actions that have no place in the land of the free and home of the brave. These immigrants and asylum seekers ARE brave for enduring the circumstances of their travels to seek freedom from violence and war here. Help them, offer them a path to citizenship just like our Homeland Security missions states. We don’t need walls and camps. We need to recognize these people as what they are: humans. Humans with basic human rights. We need to be embracing their humanity and giving them their best chance at a legal life of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
  • Nancy
    Voted Yes
    01/18/2019
    ···

    First of all, why are these people still being detained? Be there let them in the country or turn them away don’t put him in jail so un-American! Secondly you make them work for pennies and then you rob them by selling them if they want to brush their teeth it cost them $20 which would take them probably a week to earn that is robbery! I think we’re a little confused about who the criminals are in this case it’s obviously these companies they belong in jail! If you’re going to detain them,let them, then provide their basic human necessities This is just so not what America is and it’s got to stop!!

    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
  • Ken
    Voted Yes
    01/18/2019
    ···

    Bunch of bull. Get Trump off his high horse.

    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
  • David
    01/18/2019
    ···

    Free Market Capitalism! Government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations.

    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
  • Michael
    Voted Yes
    01/19/2019
    ···

    Government funded For profit prison basically ...outrageous

    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
  • Judith
    Voted Yes
    01/18/2019
    ···

    GET RID OF THESE STUPID FOR PROFIT PRISONS AND SCHOOLS ! WHO EVER VOTED THESE ABOMINATIONS IN SHOULD BE SHOT DEAD !!

    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
  • KansasTamale
    Voted Yes
    01/18/2019
    ···

    Just like the $2,400 aluminum cups for the Air Force pilots, unless every expense is accounted for excesses will occur. This is why we should not allow private companies to be in charge of these poor children & people. If the US puts them in detention the US should be responsible for taking care of them. They shouldn’t be there in the first place. If Trump & Sessions hadn’t started this horrible policy, we wouldn’t be spending caviar money for bologna meals. We are being taken by Trump’s friends & the people aren’t being taken care of. SAD.

    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
  • Susan
    Voted Yes
    01/18/2019
    ···

    This is deplorable and exactly what shitholes like 45* like to do to people

    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
  • Glowurm
    Voted Yes
    01/19/2019
    ···

    Obviously! Who has the contract? Ripoff, Halliburton? Wouldn’t be surprised!

    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
  • Hillary
    Voted Yes
    01/19/2019
    ···

    That is the same bullshit that happens in for profit prisons. I demand that Rob Portman, Michael Turner, and Sherrod Brown fight this aggressively. This is intolerable. I’m sick of my (public) servants finding legal ways to rob me blind.

    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share