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Some McAllen Folks Oppose Plans for Private Prison

Some McAllen residents are opposing plans for a 1,000-bed federal detention center that could potentially be run by private prison company GEO Group, which has a track record of abuse, mismanagement and losing track of sex offenders in its Houston halfway house.

According to The Monitor, "the deal would dramatically reduce travel and logistical headaches for the [U.S.] Marshals Service, which shuttles inmates from privately operated prisons in Laredo and La Villa to McAllen for court hearings."

But Astrid Dominguez, Advocacy Coordinator for the ACLU's Lower Rio Grande Valley chapter, stated in a press release that "...handing control of prisons over to for-profit companies is a recipe for abuse, neglect, and misconduct."

The press release, released by anti-private-prison group Grassroots Leadership, also claims that "immigrant rights advocates voiced concern that the vast majority of people incarcerated in the McAllen prison for the USMS would likely be immigrants charged only with unauthorized border-crossing, and urged city officials not to contribute to the growing trend of criminalizing migrants under the federal 'Operation Streamline' program."

The Florida-based GEO Group has a no-talking-to-the-Houston-Press policy, so we aren't able to get a comment.

But The Monitor, apparently, has been a little more GEO-friendly: according to the paper, it "learned about McAllen's discussions with GEO Group" last spring, but "at the city's request, The Monitor didn't report the news to avoid tipping off potentials competitors and skunking the deal."

All together now: WTF?


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