HIAS Calls on DHS to End its Use of Privately Operated Prisons
Aug 19, 2016
WASHINGTON—Today the Department of Justice announced a plan to end its use of private prisons because they are less safe and less effective than government run prison facilities. HIAS urges the Department of Homeland Security to immediately follow DOJ’s lead. Private prisons are profit-driven and motivated by keeping costs low rather than providing adequate staffing and services. They also lack the transparency needed to ensure that standards of care are met. Ending DHS’ use of private prisons for jailing immigrants, including persecuted people seeking asylum, would be an important step toward acknowledging and addressing concerns about the detention of immigrants, as well as ending the practice altogether.
“The Department of Homeland Security’s callous practice of jailing asylum seekers will not end when private prisons stop being used, but it’s an important first step,” said Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS. "In addition to shutting down private prisons, DHS must stop detaining immigrants and asylum seekers in local city and county jails, where conditions are just as bad if not worse. Detaining asylum seekers is almost never appropriate, and detaining children is always wrong, but jailing immigrants in facilities where they are treated like criminals is inhumane and must stop.”