A broken world
Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, August 27, 2019
We live in a broken world. According to the United Nations, 783 million people live in extreme poverty. Many of them would do anything to become Americans. With more than 2,000 illegal immigrants crossing the U.S. southern border every day, how should our government react?
Some think we should let people enter freely. Others think deportation is the solution, while many would prefer a middle ground. Whatever you believe, one fact remains. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains immigrants in facilities once they are caught entering illegally.
Back in April, students here at Notre Dame called for divestment from private prisons and detention centers. They referenced two companies, GEO Group and CoreCivic, which they stated have “a strong incentive to fill each bed and keep people locked up for longer.” This is ludicrous. As private contractors, they are providing a service requested by the government. They have nothing to do with sentencing criminals or choosing who gets detained. They simply do what the government asks of them.
Private prisons also have greater incentive than public prisons to maintain clean, safe conditions. If they do not provide sufficient results, they will lose their government contracts. That is why 100% of GEO Group and CoreCivic facilities have air-conditioning. This is not true of public prisons. That is why 100% of GEO Group’s ICE processing centers have soccer fields and flat-screen TVs. Profit motives lead to better inmate care. Capitalism works.
We live in a broken world. I wish people did not live in extreme poverty. I wish criminals and illegal immigrants did not have to be jailed or detained. But divesting from private prisons would hurt these people more than anyone else. These people deserve the best care our government can provide.
We have all seen the images from detention centers and it is easy to react emotionally and argue no one should profit from detaining people.
But the U.S. government should do everything possible to give inmates and detainees the best possible care and service and this is accomplished by public-private partnerships through the free market.
class of 2019
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.