Illinois Moves to Block Private Immigration Prisons from State

Illinois, a state with one of the highest immigrant populations in the nation, recently made progress in its plan to ban a proposed immigration detention center that would be run by a private party. The bill, called SB 1064, was already passed by the state’s Senate and is currently under consideration by the House.

The proposed center, which would be located in the village of Crete, about 37 miles south of Chicago, would hold 788 beds. Many Crete residents have voiced their criticism of the measure, stating that the detention center would create more adverse effects than positive outcomes. Many have stated their belief that both detainees and workers are often treated poorly in private facilities elsewhere that are run by Corrections Corporation of America, who the facility would be contracted out to.

One Kentucky-based facility run by CCA was recently shut down, according to CBS. The center, which only opened in 2009, is being closed due to a number of cases being uncovered where staff were providing inmates with extra privileges in exchange for sexual favors.

Others Crete citizens are concerned with how the center will affect their small town. The local barber recently told The Associated Press that a phone call has never interrupted any conversations with clients, and is a fact that he wants to keep. The center may also create a culture of fear in the town, especially for those who may not have proper immigration forms.

Opponents of the bill believe that private detention centers could be a good source of revenue for the state. However, state-based officials and residents are in favor of the measure.

Currently, Illinois law does not allow any private companies to run prisons. SB 1064 would further this regulation to include detention centers as well.

According to EFE, the measure would make Illinois one of the first and only states with such a regulation on privately-run detention centers.