Deadly Medical Neglect for Immigrants Incarcerated in Privatized Prisons

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

Seth Freed Wessler reports on deadly conditions in eleven privately-owned prisons in the US that are used exclusively for non-citizens. The medical care provided at the facilities is the biggest issue these prisons face. From 1998 to 2014, 103 men died inside these prisons. In twentyfive cases, reviewers found indications that inadequate medical care likely contributed to premature death.

Unlike the prisons that are run by the federal government, these private, for-profit institutions are not held up to the same standards as in the federal prison system. These privately-owned prisons often hire less trained, less expensive licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), instead of properly trained nurses and physicians, to carry out daily medical operations. Although these immigrant-only prisons are contractually obligated to take care of their inmates like any other prison, the contracts provide only vague guidelines and regulations, which create loopholes that allow the prisons’ corporate operators to cut costs while formally adhering to their contractual obligations.

Forty percent of the people held in these prisons are guilty of trying to reenter the US after being deported.

Source: Seth Freed Wessler, Seth Freed ”Medical Neglect Can be Fatal in Privatized Immigrant-Only Prisons.” Reveal (Center for Investigative Reporting), February 4, 2016,

Student Researcher: Harrison Hartman (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips (Sonoma State University)