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Karnes County Residential Center

San Antonio Express-News says all private prisons need examination

The San Antonio Express-News Editorial board  said today that all private prisons need to be reviewed. After the Department of Justice's (DOJ) announcement to end its use of private prisons, the Department of Homeland Security is also reviewing their contracts with private prisons. The Express-News said that this was a welcome move as many privately-run detention centers have come under similar criticisms as the DOJ's private prisons.

The Editorial Board said "We are confident that a review by Homeland Security of its private facilities — two in Dilley and Karnes County — will result in similar findings."

This is the second time that a Texas newspaper's editorial board weighed in on the issue of private prisons. The McAllen Monitor also came out and suggested officials from the Homeland Security Advisory Council take a trip to Texas to see two of the privately-run facilities, which are located in Karnes and Dilley Texas, in able to see the conditions of the facilities in person.

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The Brownsville Herald supports DHS review of private prisons

A Texas newspaper has come out in support of the Dept. of Homeland Security's (DHS) review of private prison contracts. The Brownsville Herald came out to say that they had called on Secretary Johnson and the DHS to review their private prison contracts, much like the Dept. of Justice did. The newspaper continued by saying: 

"We applaud Secretary Johnson for recognizing that failures in for-profit run prison facilities could also extend to for-profit immigration detention facilities, such as the large holding facilities in South Texas in Dilley and Karnes City.

We encourage the Homeland Security Advisory Council to investigate thoroughly all for-profit facilities operated under Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ensure they meet humanitarian standards and U.S. detention facility protocol. Charges by former immigrant detainees and numerous immigration advocacy groups that immigrant mothers in these for-profit facilities are denied access to their children, put in isolation, denied medical care or psychological help are disturbing and should not be condoned."

The paper then went on to invite the members Homeland Security Advisory Board, who will review private prison facilities and their contracts, to come to Texas to visit in person the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, which is run by Corrections Corporation of America, and the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City run by the GEO Group.

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The McAllen Monitor supports DHS review of private prisons

A Texas newspaper’s editorial board has come out in support of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) review of private prison contracts. The McAllen Monitor Editorial Board has previously called on DHS Secretary Johnson and the DHS to review their private prison contracts.

The editorial board also asked DHS to do more, saying:

We applaud Secretary Johnson for recognizing that failures in for-profit run prison facilities could also extend to for-profit immigration detention facilities, such as the large holding facilities in South Texas in Dilley and Karnes City.

We encourage the Homeland Security Advisory Council to investigate thoroughly all for-profit facilities operated under Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ensure they meet humanitarian standards and U.S.. detention facility protocol. Charges by former immigrant detainees and numerous immigration advocacy groups that immigrant mothers in these for-profit facilities are denied access to their children, put in isolation, denied medical care or psychological help are disturbing and should not be condoned.


The paper urged members Homeland Security Advisory Board, who will conduct the review, to come to Texas to visit in person the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, which is run by Corrections Corporation of America, and the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City run by the GEO Group.

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Private prison companies are paid for family detention centers whether beds are filled or not

Corrections Corporations of America (CCA) will receive payment from the federal government from their 2,400-bed family detention center regardless of how many beds are filled, according to The Washington Post.

Due to the high number of migrants crossing the border from Central American countries, the Obama administration agreed to a deal with CCA in a four-year, $1 billion contract to run the South Texas Residential Facility in Dilley, Texas. Typically,  contracts between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and private corporations have the payout based on the percentage of beds filled.

ICE spokesperson Jennifer Elzea said that the contract is “unique” in its payment because they pay "a fixed monthly fee for use of the entire facility regardless of the number of residents."

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House of Representatives' Immigration and Border Subcommittee, said "for the most part, what I see is a very expensive incarceration scheme. It's costly to the taxpayers and achieves almost nothing, other than trauma to already traumatized individuals."

Elzea also told The Washington Post that the Karnes County Residential Center, operated by GEO Group, is under a contract with a similar pay structure, where it will receive full payment regardless of the number of beds filled.

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Texas grants child care license to Karnes family detention center

On Friday April 29, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) granted a license to the Karnes County Residential Center, a federal detention center for mothers and children operated by for-profit prison corporation GEO Group.

The Department of Homeland Security has been pursuing state licenses for the family detention centers in Karnes and Dilley since a federal ruling in August mandated that the children be released within two months from the facilities because they violated the terms of the Flores settlement, which stipulates that children in custody of federal immigration officials may not be held in secure, unlicensed facilities.

Texas’ decision to license the Karnes family detention center was accompanied by an outcry from immigrant rights advocates, who have turned out in force at several public hearings to oppose granting child care licenses to the detention centers.

Jonathan Ryan, executive director of San Antonio legal services provider RAICES, told the New York Times, “If you want a child care facility, you don’t contract with a for-profit prison company.”

Patrick Crimmins, a spokesperson for DFPS, said that the temporary license is valid for six months. During this time, the agency will conduct three unannounced inspections of the detention center, and grant a permanent license if the facility meets required standards.

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