The ACLU Is at the UN Tomorrow to Testify on the Horrific Human Rights Record of US Private Prison Companies

On April 13, private prison company GEO Group announced its first new contract to detain immigrants under the Trump administration: a 1,000-bed detention center that will be built in Conroe, Texas, just north of Houston and next door to an existing GEO Group detention center.

The Conroe contract is only the beginning of what promises to be an enormous, multi-year boondoggle for private prison companies. Since Trump’s election, companies like GEO Group and the Corrections Corporation of America — which last year borrowed a tactic from the likes of Phillip Morris and Blackwater to rebrand itself CoreCivic — have seen their stock prices skyrocket.

The private prison business model depends on a simple formula: build prisons and then secure government contracts to fill them with people. This administration’s plans for mass deportations and a stepped-up war on drugs, combined with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ rescission of the Justice Department’s August 2016 plan to phase out its private prison contracts, promise to vastly increase the flow of revenue-generating Black and brown people into private prisons. As The New York Times recently reported, CCA/CoreCivic and GEO Group are both currying favor with the administration in anticipation of this carceral future, as each company contributed more than $250,000 to the president’s inaugural celebration.

The United Nations, however, has taken notice.

The ACLU is one of several organizations from around the world that have been invited to testify to the U.N. about how to address barriers to accountability for private prison companies. I’ll be representing the ACLU Thursday morning at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, for a meeting of a U.N. working group scrutinizing what the UN calls “private military and security companies” — a category that encompasses everything from mercenary companies, like Blackwater, to privatized police and security forces to privatized prisons. What unifies these disparate categories is that they all involve a government delegating some of its most dangerous and intrusive powers to a private, for-profit company.

When the government hands control of prisons over to for-profit companies, it creates serious gaps in accountability and transparency. Even publicly operated prisons are secretive institutions that tend to resist reform. They are, after all, places whose very purpose is to assert total control over the bodies of the people inside. But when a for-profit company runs the prison, this inherently closed nature functions to shield the activities of an entity whose primary duty is to deliver value to its shareholders.

This lack of accountability is especially dangerous because of the horrifying record of abuse and neglect in the private prison industry. Last year, for example, the Justice Department’s inspector general found that private prisons with federal prison contracts delivered deficient medical care, had higher levels of violence than regular federal prisons, and misused solitary confinement as overflow space.

For these reasons, the ACLU is staunchly opposed to prison privatization, and we’ll continue working to expose the harm to human rights caused by the Trump administration’s embrace of companies like CCA/CoreCivic and GEO Group.

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Free Citizen

The issue of private prisons is a huge society problem most don't even know about. Private prisons and local jails have become prolific in many states, even though most state constitutions give NO authority to officials to contract these corporation much less the Federal constitution.

Their mission is to make money, money, money! They accomplish this by setting quotas for how many people "need" to be in jail at any given period. Local police and sheriffs are rewarded with money and gifts for the more people they lock up.

Sheriffs are particularly prone to corruption by accepting bribes and gifts, directly and indirectly, from these corporates.

Every human held in a private corporate owned jail is being held illegally!


MY DON is in,jsil in a private jsil in Virginia. He has been beaten up by the guards twice in the past three years. Any vommisary they get has a dollar a day deducted before they get their comm. Money. He's been put in solitary confinement for three months now. They've decreased his good rations greatly. They didn't bring him drinking water for thirty days. One time they put him in solitary and literally took everything from him, but his boxers. No toiletries or anything.


Balch Springs Police kill innocent 15 year old boy sitting in the back seat of a car.

Officer "unknown" was responding to shots fired at a party when a car containing 4 black youths was ambushed by the unknown officer. Balch Springs Texas refuses to release dash cam or body footage. Demand justice at the following Balch Springs department email.


Let's call these places what they really are; concentration camps for undesirables and the racially mixed. This is Nazi Germany with a twist and nothing else. People involved with this are criminals, now and forever. The day of reckon will come and history will judge them accordingly.

berta peterson-smith

there are so many things to protest against since dt took office, but this is another problem that is going to get worse under dt and sessions. thank god for the aclu

John Dacey

It is very heartening to know that the ACLU will take these critical issues -- the very outsourcing of our nation's sovereignty -- to the United Nations, and that the U.N. is taking these issues seriously. Hopefully your efforts will result in U.N. resolutions calling for an end to such unwise and immoral practices as incarceration-for-profit. Indeed the Supreme Court of Israel has already decided that prison privatization is a human rights violations and therefore impermissible in Israel.
To further the cause, we at Abolish Private Prisons intend to challenge the very constitutionality of prison privatization in federal court.
John Dacey, Executive Director, Abolish Private Prisons, an Arizona 501(c)(3) corporation (


Somethings in life are worse than dying , like your life being in the hands of an evil entity.



Balch Springs Police kill innocent 15 year old boy sitting in car.

Officer "unknown" was responding to shots fired at a party when a car containing 4 black youths was ambushed by the unknown officer. Balch Springs refuses to release dash cam or body footage. Demand justice at the following Balch Springs department email. The youth and car was uninvolved in the original shooting and trying to leave the party safely.

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