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Congressman Jason Crow and Allison Hiltz of Aurora City Council outside the immigration detention facility in Aurora.
Congressman Jason Crow and Allison Hiltz of Aurora City Council outside the immigration detention facility in Aurora.
Conor McCormick-Cavanagh

Reader: Ending For-Profit Prisons Will Never Happen Under Trump

Citing a lack of oversight and accountability, Congressman Jason Crow has called for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to end its contracts with private-prison companies, including the GEO Group, which runs the immigrant detention center in Aurora inside his district.

Crow has long been a critic of GEO’s Aurora facility and an advocate for congressional oversight, introducing a bill that would require ICE to grant congressional access to facilities. Along with District 2 Representative Joe Neguse, he's also pushing for a congressional hearing to investigate the GEO Group. But what he'd really like to do is put a stop to the feds' use of private prisons.

Many of our readers agree.  Says Alexander:

Well, duh. You really think they were going to imprison innocent people and not profit from it? This is America.

Notes Kamla:

I think it is a good idea, but a real blow to the inmates incarcerated, perhaps unfairly, under our private for-profit prison system for the past several decades.

Responds Kevin:

 This will never happen under this administration

Adds Max:

Finally... it’s time to make “prison for profit” illegal.

Responds Gerry:

Any time a public entity is turned over to private management it becomes about money and people are mistreated.

Asks Ter:

And replace it with state-run prisons? Abolish all prisons.

Concludes Dave:

Making a profit locking up criminals is criminal.

“DHS and ICE will never accept responsibility for what happens at these private detention centers, so the only path forward for us is to end this for-profit private detention immigration system,” Crow says. “We will not have a system that complies with our morals and our values as a nation so long as companies are incentivized by profit to run these centers.”

On February 20, Crow attempted to visit and inspect the Aurora facility, concerned about the prison's third quarantine in a year due to an infectious-disease outbreak. There have since been more quarantines, the most recent one beginning June 4. The Tri-County Health Department confirmed that one unit was still under quarantine as of July 3.) Crow was originally denied entry; ICE said that it would not allow entry accompanied by media.

He eventually was able to tour the facility, but following that difficulty and delay, in early July Crow and nine other Democratic congressional representatives sent a letter to ICE requesting information about health conditions, medical services and disease outbreaks at detention facilities nationwide.

What do you think about Crow's stance? Let us know in a comment or at editorial@westword.com.

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