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3 Jul 2018

David Dayen, In These Times

These private prison companies are already profiting off of Trump’s order on family separation

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Whether prosecuting or not, the Trump administration still has the goal, expressed in the order, of detaining families together indefinitely, until their immigration cases are complete... Trump’s plan is also contingent on finding enough beds to house as many as 19,000 women and children in detention facilities... And wherever they are held under Trump’s plan, someone will still have to perform day-to-day oversight of the families, and transport them around—and do the same for the 2,300 children already separated from their families... All of which may explain why the stock prices of oligopoly private prison companies Geo Group and CoreCivic have been rising ever since the Trump announcement, a pure expression of the sacks of cash awaiting private companies if they contribute to caging immigrant families... Instead of being contracted to manage facilities, Geo Group and CoreCivic want to build and own the facilities themselves. Top executives of both for-profit companies have stressed this desire in investor calls.  This not only saves on taxes, it’s far more lucrative than operations management. Estimates from CoreCivic’s financial disclosures show they earn 71 percent more revenue per prisoner in owned and managed facilities than in ones they solely manage—and six times more profit per prisoner... Trump’s new executive order signals the administration’s desire for far more immigrant detention construction. This is already in play; Geo Group is completing work on a 1,000-bed facility in Conroe, Texas, under a 2017 contract with ICE.