Tonight, at 6 PM, there will be an open forum about a possible Slate Belt detention center for over 2,000 illegal immigrants. This meeting will be hosted by GEO, which calls itself "a leader in the delivery of private correctional and detention management."
At a time when we have 10% unemployment, this proposal will generate 350 union construction jobs and 500 detention workers with salaries equivalent to those of police officers. In the economically depressed Slate Belt. On the other hand, the ACLU's Emma Cleveland has warned that private prisons like GEO generate human rights abuses, and it's net to impossible to track them because the Freedom of Information Act has no application to a private business.
Cleveland has set up a Facebook group, Coalition Against the Prison in Mt. Bethel. It's billed as a "group made up of concerned citizens," but it would be more honest to describe it as an ACLU-led effort.
But there are some very real concerns about private prisons, especially those housing illegal immigrants. They were detailed yesterday on NPR's Talk of the Nation. Because crime has flat-lined in the U.S., private prison corporations look at housing illegals as their new growth industry. They donated heavily to the Arizona legislators who recently enacted their new illegal immigration law.