The Senate’s immigration reform bill could provide a boon to private prison companies, the Wall Street Journal reports, increasing the federal prison population “by 14,000 inmates annually” at a cost of $1.6 billion over 10 years.
The legislation invests billions
in border security technology, doubles the number of U.S. Border Patrol
agents, and authorizes funds “to triple the number of prosecutions of
people violating immigration laws along a portion of the U.S. border in
Arizona.” “The total additional costs to detain, prosecute, and
incarcerate offenders would total $3.1 billion over the 2014–2023 period,” the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates.
Industry officials had been cautious of the legislation’s impacts on
the prison business, as reform would decriminalize the estimated 11.1
million undocumented immigrants. But analysts predict that additional
spending on border security would almost definitely “boost revenue at
privately operated prisons” with private contractors snagging 80 percent
of additional inmates.