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September 17th, 2015
Grijalva Introduces Bill to End Family Detention, For-Profit Prisons

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) today introduced legislation that bans private prisons, ends family detention, and removes Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) daily mandate to fill 34,000 beds with detainees. The bill, The Justice Is Not For Sale Act, also reinstates the federal parole system, requires ICE to improve monitoring of detention facilities, requires ICE to use Alternatives to Detention, and increases oversight to prevent companies from overcharging inmates and their families for services like banking and telephone calls.

“Treating detainees as a means to a profit margin incentivizes jailors to lobby for ever more inmates, and ensures those inmates are denied even the basic staples they’re entitled to,” Grijalva said. “The result is a corrections system collapsing under its own weight as the prison industry gets rich and countless innocent men, women and children are ensnared in their trap.”

Grijalva’s bill comes on the same day that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a scathing report calling for DHS to immediately release families from detention. After finding several DHS facilities non-compliant with federal mandates and agency policies pertaining to detainee treatment, the report recommends that Congress no longer fund family detention and reduce funding for immigration detention generally in favor of alternative options.

“Our corrections system exists to uphold the rule of law – not to house innocent refugees or feed the greed of corporate interests,” Grijalva continued. “Federal, state, and local governments don’t need a middleman to administer justice, and the taxpayers don’t need the extra expenses these contracts entail.

“As the corporations that imprison people for profits join the ranks of the most aggressive lobbyists in our nation’s capital, every American should be concerned about the policies they’re pushing in the Halls of Power. Their only agenda is to fuel incarceration and minimize the standards by which we treat the incarcerated.”

Congressman Grijalva is a prominent voice in the effort to end for-profit prison contracts and family detention in the United States. In June, he visited two facilities outside of San Antonio, Texas, and chronicled the experience in an op-ed. In July, he led the Congressional Progressive Caucus in hosting a forum on family detention that included two former detainees and a whistle blower testifying to horrible conditions and unethical practices she witnessed while working at a for-profit facility. In August, he also visited Eloy Detention Facility where multiple detainees have died under the custody of ICE.  

Full text of The Justice Is Not For Sale Act is available here.

A fact sheet about The Justice Is Not For Sale Act is available here.


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