A little more than ten years ago the Bureau of Prisons issued its first Criminal Alien Requirement (CAR) request for proposals for contracts for the imprisonment of low-security immigrants convicted and sentenced by federal courts. The B OP was searching for private and public partners willing to provide prison beds in facilities exclusively for “criminal aliens.”
The call went out in September 2009 for 7500 CAR beds in
The CAR contracts proved a boon to private prison companies like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and Cornell Corrections since they contracts came at a time when the private prison firms were experiencing rough financial times. The speculative prisons they had been building during the 1990s were underoccupied or empty, as news of prison escapes and widespread abuses dampened the initial enthusiasm of state governments to outsource their inmates to the “privates.”
But the federal government came to the rescue with immigrant inmates who became among the first federal prisoners to be outsourced to private prisons. Immigrant inmates covered by the CAR contracts are particularly attractive to the privates because they are nonviolent offenders, many of whom have been convicted for immigration not criminal violations. Which means lower security costs for the private companies, and also minimal rehabilitation, drug treatment, or educational services since all the CAR inmates are slated to be deported when finishing their sentences.
CCA, the largest prison company, was the main beneficiary of the first CAR offerings in 1999.
CCA won -year CAR contracts worth $760 million. One of the contracts was for 2,304 immigrants, who conveniently, for CCA, were sent from a variety of other federal prisons to an empty CCA prison in
Ten years later, CCA has received some bad news. BOP declined to renew its CAR contract for its
Why did BOP award the CAR contract to Cornell, which will leave CCA with an empty prison?
In a statement, CCA President and CEO Damon Hininger said the company believes the BOP's move is based primarily on "escalating federal wage determination costs in
In a note to clients, according to the Nashville Post, Avondale Partners analyst Kevin Campbell wrote that the wage differential between
As part of the CAR-10 contract, the immigrant inmates now at the CCA prison will be transferred to the largest private prison in Georgia, the D. Ray James Correctional Facility located in Folkston.
Cornell, which has two other CAR contracts for immigrants, expects to earn revenues of approximately $205 million during the initial four-year term of the contract.
It’s all about service, so says Cornell.
James E. Hyman, Cornell's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, "Our company has served the Federal Bureau of Prisons for 28 years. This will be our third facility meeting the BOP's criminal alien requirements, and we look forward to demonstrating our commitment to safety, security and service with a total of approximately 7,500 federal inmates."
The denial of the CCA contract for the
Tom Barry, “Death in Texas: Profits, Prisons, and Immigration Converge.”
Judith Greene, “Bailing Out Private Jails,” American Prospect, September 2001.Photo: Reeves County Detention Center, Pecos, NM