Entanglement Between Federal Government and Private Prison Companies Deepens

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Detention Watch Network responds to ICE official moving to GEO

Washington, DC — Yesterday, the Daily Beast reported that Daniel Ragsdale, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Deputy Director, will be leaving ICE for an undisclosed position at the private prison company, GEO Group (GEO). Mary Small, Policy Director of Detention Watch Network responds:

“Daniel Ragsdale’s move to GEO is another shameful example of the revolving door that exists between the federal agencies issuing lucrative immigration detention and prison contracts and the private prison companies receiving them. Highlighted in DWN’s 2016 report, A Toxic Relationship: Private Prisons and U.S. Immigration Detention, Ragsdale joins a laundry list of disgraced government employees advancing their own careers by taking advantage of these perverse financial incentives.

These pay to play schemes disturbingly blur the lines between corporate and government interests that show up in every facet of the immigration detention system, and create a breeding ground of closed door deals that lack transparency. GEO and CCA, the two largest private prison companies, were recently thrown out of court for their anti-transparency antics. Last month, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal by the private prison companies, who are seeking to block the release of government documents about their immigration detention practices, in an ongoing lawsuit by DWN and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Transparency concerns are reaching new extremes with every turn of the revolving door. Private prison companies ultimately seek to maximize their profits by cutting costs at the expense of people’s health, safety and well-being and then hiding the evidence from public view — the cozy relationship between government officials and private prison companies cannot be tolerated.”


Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit www.detentionwatchnetwork.org. Follow @DetentionWatch.