Last month, a briefing was held on the Private Prison Information Act (HR 2450). The measure was introduced by Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Our own Judy Greene presented at the briefing along with Joshua Miller of AFSCME, David Shapiro of the ACLU's National Prison Project, Tom Barry of the TransBorder Project, and Alex Friedman of the Private Corrections Institute. The briefing was hosted by Corrections USA and moderated by Eric Milman.
During the briefing, presenters like Judy made the case for expanding the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to all facilities detaining persons under federal jurisdiction. This would include immigrant detention centers in addition to private prison facilities.
According to Tom Barry's presentation, the problems with the current system include a lack of effective oversight.
A near-total absence of committed oversight has allowed the prison industry to flourish in the shadows. Requests for the most basic information about the functioning of these prisons and detention centers routinely lead nowhere.