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NOTHING HUMAN IS ALIEN: THE RE-HUMANIZATION OF THE U.S. IMMIGRATION DETENTION SYSTEM THROUGH CONTRACT REFORM

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I.Introduction.117

II.Background.119

A. What U.S. Immigration Detention Has Become.120

B. Lack of Government Oversight Allows Room for Irregularities...122

III. Analysis....126

A. Contracting Requirements Must Be Set by the End User....126

B. A Skilled Acquisition Workforce Will Lead to Better Contract Oversight.....129

IV. Conclusion....132

I. INTRODUCTION

On February 20, 2015, after numerous allegations of abuse and inhumane living conditions at a Texas prison,1 a riot broke out after a protest over poor medical care.2 The detainees set fire to multiple areas in the prison and took control of the facility.3 Willacy County Correctional Center was a privately run prison, which housed nearly 3,000 inmates in ten 200foot-long Kevlar tents.4 The facility held non-citizens due for deportation after they completed their sentences for crimes such as illegal border crossing.5 After the riot, the prison was torn down, the complex was closed, and all of the inmates were transferred.6

A decade ago, this desperate south Texas county saw the private prison industry as its only salvation from complete economic failure.7 The county created a public facility corporation, sold bonds, built the prison, and hired the Management & Training Corporation (MTC) to operate the facility.8 To fill the beds, MTC "contracted with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to incarcerate low-security male immigrants" and the federal agency paid MTC to manage the facility; in turn, MTC paid the county.9

But, after the riot, MTC closed the facility and canceled its contract, and the comity is now responsible for the $63 million debt incurred in building the prison.10 Due to the crisis, all non-essential expenditures and projects, "such as plans for a courthouse renovation and a new hurricane shelter,"11 were cut from the county's budget. The facility employed a workforce of nearly 400 local residents.12 After the riot, the county had to lay them off.13

Willacy...