It’s probably inevitable that some in the Minnesota legislature will try to push reopening the Prairie Correctional Facility, every session. As long as there are still right-wingnuts there, anyway, which unfortunately will be for a while yet.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions signaled (Feb. 23) his strong support for the federal government’s continued use of private prisons — reversing a late-Obama-era directive to discontinue their use.
The news, which inspired a surge in the stocks of major private prison companies, broke about one hour after Minnesota Sen. Andrew Lang, R-Olivia, announced plans for a bill that would direct the state to lease or buy Prairie Correctional Facility, a for-profit prison in Appleton, a small community in west-central Minnesota.
The timing was a coincidence, but both announcements could be key to the now-uncertain future of Prairie Correctional, Minnesota’s only private prison.
And it so happens that Pr*sident Trump loves for-profit
But given that America’s detention system for immigrants has been running at full capacity for some time now, where is the president going to put all of these people before deporting them?
In new jails, for starters. In the same executive order that called for the construction of a southern border wall, Trump instructed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to build out its sprawling network of immigration detention centers. Starting “immediately,” his order said, ICE should construct new facilities, lease space for immigrants alongside inmates in existing local jails, and sign new contracts—likely with private prison companies. The scale of that expansion became clearer on February 5, when the Los Angeles Times reported on a memo handed down in late January from White House immigration experts to top Homeland Security officials. The document called for raising the number of immigrants ICE incarcerates daily, nationwide, to 80,000 people.
So, we’ll see what goes down from here. It seems unlikely that Prairie Correctional will just be turned over to the feds, or anything like that, in short order. But certainly Trump, and his followers in Minnesota, want to incarcerate a lot more people – anyone who frightens or upsets them, basically, not just immigrants – and they would have to be put somewhere.