Thursday, March 5, 2015

After Willacy: A private prison company, a prison riot, and what comes next.

The federal Bureau of Prisons is still dealing with the aftermath of a riot late last month at the Willacy County Correctional Center that left the southeast Texas prison — in reality a collection of Kevlar domes — officially “uninhabitable.”
The Utah-based Management and Training Corporation (MTC), which runs the facility, has said the prisoners — who were mostly immigrants caught illegally trying to enter the U.S. — planned a riot in hopes of getting transferred to another facility (and perhaps delaying their deportations). In a commentary piece for The Marshall Project last week, Carl Takei of the American Civil Liberties Union instead blamed conditions at the prison, from overcrowding to overuse of solitary confinement to overflowing toilets.
Neither the private company or the federal prison bureau have announced any substantial policy changes in response to the riot, and it appears their relationship remains unshaken. On March 9, the private company is due to bid for contracts to run a new immigrant facility in Leflore County, Miss., as well as four existing immigration facilities throughout Texas. MTC will compete for these contracts with two bigger private prison operators, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and The GEO Group, Inc.

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