REPORT SAYS PRIVATIZED FACILITIES HOUSE 29% OF FEDERAL DETAINEES
The Sentencing Project released a report today on federal detainees being held in private, for-profit facilities. The report, Dollars and Detainees: The Growth of For-Profit Detention details ICE and the U.S. Marshals Service’s use of for-profit detention and its implications.
Major findings of the report include:
-Between 2002 and 2011 the number of privately held ICE detainees increased by 208 percent, while the number of USMS detainees held in private facilities grew by 355 percent.
-In 2011, 45 percent of ICE detainees and 30 percent of USMS detainees were held by private companies.
-Federal detainees are held in a complex network of facilities in which information on where individuals are being held, and by whom is often unavailable or incomplete.
Here are some clips from the report:
In 2010, one in every 13 prisoners in the U.S. was held by for-profit companies, despite evidence that private prisons often provide inadequate levels of service and are no more cost-effective than publicly-run facilities. In addition, private prisons operate on a business model that emphasizes profits over the public good, and benefit from policies that maintain America’s high incarceration rate.
Between 2008 and 2010, the number of privately-held inmates decreased by 1,281.3 while the number of privately-held detainees increased by 3,327.4. This growth was part of a larger trend that saw the total private detainee population increase by 259 percent between 2002 and 2010; a change largely due to stepped up efforts to find, incarcerate, and deport people who violate immigration laws. There are indications that federal detention will remain a major market for private companies.
PROPOSED BUDGET CUTS TO STATE JUVENILE JUSTICE PROGRAMS
Congress’s proposed budget of $40 million to fund states’ juvenile justice programs is less than half of what is necessary according to the Coalition for Juvenile Justice.
Youth Today’s Kaukab Jhumra Smith has the story. Here’s a clip:
Since 2002, the funds available for states to implement Title II of the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act have been slashed by more than half from $88.8 million, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition for Juvenile Justice, which brings together citizens and public officials who work on juvenile justice issues in every state.
Current funding levels for Title II — whose four core requirements aim to protect young people from being unfairly confined in prison — are at $40 million, according to figures released by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice in April. The White House requested $70 million for the 2013 budgetary year, an amount unlikely to pass Congress.
If federal funds shrink further, states will have little incentive to meet federal guidelines for keeping juveniles out of the adult prison system, said Liz Ryan, president of the D.C.-based advocacy organization Campaign for Youth Justice.
“The less resources there are, the harder it is to implement the federal law,” Ryan said. “Eventually they may decide not to participate. And that’s what we’re afraid of, that states may walk away from this.”
GAY TEENS REPRESENT UP TO 15% OF INCARCERATED YOUTH
According to the Center for American Progress, LGBTQ youth comprise as much as 15% of all incarcerated youth—an alarmingly disproportionate figure, as LGBTQ youth make up only about 5-7% of the total youth population.
Youth Today’s James Swift has the story on this other important juvenile justice issue. Here’s a clip:
The findings were discussed last month in Washington, D.C. at an event sponsored by the National Council on Crime & Delinquency and titled “Unfair Criminalization of LGBT Youth.”
Moderating the event, Moodie-Mills said that stressors from family and school could potentially make LGBT teens more vulnerable than the general population to violence, prostitution and homelessness.
Shortly after the event, survey findings from a joint project involving the Williams Institute, the Palette Fund and the True Colors Fund found that almost 40 percent of the nation’s homeless or at-risk youth are gay or transgender.
Panelist Maya Rupert, a representative of the National Council for Lesbian Rights, said that several institutions, such as the nation’s education and legal systems, were failing the country’s LGBT teens.
“These are not systems set up to serve youth, let alone LGBTQ youth,” she said, the Human Rights Campaign reported.
REPORT BREAKS DOWN STATES’ JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM
John Jay College of Criminal Justice recently released a report on various methods and state models of juvenile justice reform, highlighting California’s reinvestment and realignment policies. While it’s somewhat dense and academic, it’s filled with interesting information if you take the time to wade through it.
Douglas Evans at the blog Reclaiming Futures has info on the report. Here’s a clip:
Imprisonment is a costly punishment for adults and juveniles, both monetarily and in terms of its impact on recidivism. Incarceration currently is a multi-billion dollar industry and typically accounts for a majority of state criminal justice budget expenditures. Given the current economic recession, the need for state officials to explore mechanisms for reducing expenses is greater than ever. Equally as important, incarceration is associated with an increased likelihood of reoffending. Statistics indicate that two-thirds of inmates will be arrested within three years of their release from prison. The destructive consequences of incarceration have led some states to look into alternatives to incarceration, especially for court-involved youth.
…and here is a clip from the report‘s intro, which mentions California:
The most significant issues facing juvenile justice systems are cost and recidivism. While the cost of community-based supervision and treatment is significant, incarceration is far more expensive and offers less in the way of rehabilitation. It costs state governments approximately $100,000 per year to incarcerate one juvenile, and in California, the annual cost has reached $225,000 (Ferriss 2010). Given that more than 80,000 juveniles served time in state institutions in the U.S. in 2008, it’s no surprise that juvenile incarceration creates significant expenditures nationwide (Sickmund 2010). According to a recent estimate, the U.S. spends about $5.7 billion a year on juvenile incarceration (Petteruti, Walsh and Velazquez 2009).
While incarceration may be necessary for a small number of high-risk juveniles, it appears to be harmful for most youth. Incarcerated juveniles, especially those low in risk, tend to recidivate at higher rates than youth treated in their homes or communities. In spite of this, many youth courts place juveniles in state facilities for committing non-violent, low-level offenses or violating probation. Furthermore, community-based alternatives are not available in many states, leaving courts with no dispositional option besides incarceration.