Opening Soon: Farmville’s Private GULAG

We Americans love to lock people up.
As “The Economist” recently notes, the U.S. has an incarcerated population of 2.3 million, which is bigger than the entire population of individual 15 states. The rate of incarceration in the United Kingdom is one fifth of the U.S. a ninth what is is in Germany and a 12th of Japan’s (assuming comparing the U.S. with other advanced industrialized countries doesn’t defame them.)
With this as a backdrop, Virginia is about to start incarcerating even more people, but not necessarily Americans. They are foreigners who are undocumented or are here legally but have broken laws that can range from rape and murder to gambling or hoisting a brew in a public parking lot.
The newest depository for such people is in the small college town of Farmville which gained fame in the late 1950s for closing its entire school system rather than moving on with court-ordered integration. Next month a new $21 million facility operated by a private company opens to house foreign people.
The jail will house 584 immigrant detainees and eventually grow to 1,000 inmates with criminal records, some of whom will have been snagged by the federal “Secure Communities” program that uses advanced biometrics to identify foreign nationals or foreign-born individuals who might have criminal records.
But are we talking talking murder or loitering? The Web site of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency states that the program is supposed to tag only those with serious criminal records. But since 2008, according to a Texas immigration lawyer, it has been used to detain and deport thousands of undocumented workers for minor transgressions such as gambling.
The other curiosity about the jail is that its origin is as much a business opportunity for entrepreneurs as a public service. It is being built by the Richmond-based Immigration Company of America, which has no experience running prisons. The firm has operated a
taxi service to haul detained immigrants from jail to court for several years.
ICA’s executives include Richmond businessmen Ken Newsome, Warren Coleman and Russell Harper. Newsome is a prominent contributor to Republican political causes and was a major contributor to former Republican Gov. Jim Gilmore. When I wrote about ICA in September, its
executives would not talk to me, referring my inquiry instead to Farmville Town Manager Gerald J. Spates — an unusual way of handling public scrutiny, to say the least.
Furthermore, the ICA alien depot has been on shaky financial ground. A year ago, banks declined to finance it, and the firm has gotten funding from the public in the form of
money received by Virginia in a 1998 settlement with four major tobacco companies.
To make up for its lack of experience ICA plans to hire away guards and other prison personnel from a state-run, regional jug a short distance away in the Farmville area. The ghost of one dead immigrant hangs over that facility, however,
In 2008, a German man named Guido R. Newbrough, an Air Force brat who had lived most of his life in the United States and resided in Northern Virginia, was picked up in a sweep of immigrants previously convicted of sex crimes. (The well-publicized effort was organized by then-attorney general Robert F. McDonnell.) After his 2002 sexual battery conviction, Newbrough served his sentence and underwent therapy, but he was arrested in the sweep
He died in a state detention jail in Farmville in November 2008 of a heart ailment after complaining to guards of pain. Fellow detainees say he was thrown to the ground and placed in isolation before his death.
The Right Wing Media Network would have us believe that jails like ICA’s are needed because of the crime rampage caused by foreigners, legal or illegal. Such beliefs can only fuel the arguments of the anti-immigrant lobby.
But what are we really doing here? Arresting and detaining improperly documented bus boys? Or are they Hannibal Lecters who happen to speak Spanish? If we believe the Economist, it probably doesn’t matter because we Americans like to lock up just about anyone.
What Virginia and the United States need is comprehensive immigration reform, not “private” prisons built partly with public money by politically connected businessmen who have never run a jail before.

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10 responses to “Opening Soon: Farmville’s Private GULAG”

  1. Since it involves our money, do we get to see a business plan? I'd love to know where the profit is in running a prison.

    What happens if it's not profitable, do the state/feds take it over or do they just cough up more money to make it profitable?

    Like all things political just follow the money….seems like you are on the right track.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    So why not figure out how much it costs federal, state and local government to operate jails and prisons for those illegal aliens with criminal records and those awaiting deportation. The total sum is then to be recovered from those businesses caught employing illegals. The more that are caught, the lower the bill per alien; and vice versa.

    The Obama administration is spending much of its enforcement resources on auditing businesses. This is a logical next step. Take out the profit and the jobs will go away. Take away the jobs and attrition will reduce the illegal alien population. This type of solution would challenge both those on the right and those on the left.


  3. FYI….

    "Va. corrections head: Stop locking up those 'we're mad at'"

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    If the Feds were serious about stopping illegal immigration this wouldn't even be necessary. Here's comprehensive immigration reform that will work. 1. Enforce immigration laws on the books today. 2. Require valid social security ID for work. If no valid ID, no job. Eventually the illegals will go home. 3. Once the basic problem is solved with these actions, then we can talk about modifying immigration laws to allow more immigrants or temporary worker status. However, there should be no amnesty whatsoever. We should not reward illegal actors with citizenship.

  5. We already require a valid SS number for work.

    That worked well.

    When I was at the Pentagon there were construction crews working on repairing the damage and restoration. The pentagon hired a construction company. the construction company hired subcontractors. The subcontractors used Spanish speaking workers. Presumably the subs are required to record SS numbers, under the law.

    I don't know for certain that there were hundreds of illegal aliens working inside the Pentagon, but it sure looked that way.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    The Gulag exists to scare productive asset owning citizens into paying exorbitant taxes to fund both parties' wars of empire and socialist redistribution programs.

    Legalize drugs, bring the troops home, abolish socialism.

    No prisons, no taxes. Only freedom and prosperity.

    Oh yes, free migration to increase the size and strength of our economy.


  7. Groveton Avatar

    Given Susan Bolton decision – maybe we should be thankful that a private enterprise is going to bear some of the costs of incarcerating illegal aliens. Maybe we can turn the jail into a bowling alley.

    I am chillin' in Canada today. They certainly want to enforce their borders. You can't get past their border agents with a valid passport for a one day meeting without getting interrogated! They are afraid we Americans are taking their jobs!

    Only America thinks the borders should be unguarded.

    What a crock.

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    Imagine the TV ads this fall. "The federal government has turned against its citizens . It not only will not enforce federal laws against illegal immigration, but it also went to court to stop Arizona from doing so. The federal government has become your enemy. It's time to elected a Congress that will force the federal government to work for Americans."


  9. Anonymous Avatar

    Laws restricting human migration are unjust, selfish, and immoral.

    The government is self-destructing as it hypocritically tries to pander to middle class socialists who want to protect their socialist entitlements like social security, medicaid, medicare, government education, etc. The argument is that these soon to be bankrupt socialist programs will go bankrupt even sooner with the demands placed on them by "illegal immigrants".

    Think about this. Obama is calling for a bigger crackdown on employers who hire humans without the proper government permission to work, while at the same time Obama is opposing requiring government officials in law enforcement from documenting which humans have the proper government permission to be geographically present while they committed a crime.

    The courts seem to think it is OK to require an employer to demand documentation of government approval of geographic location before hiring a human, but not OK to require that the government itself after detaining a human for a crime or suspected crime demand the same documentation of government approval of geographic location.

    And the courts have ruled you have to provide them with all the socialist programs regardless of the fact that they do not have government approval of geographic location.

    In summary, crime is fine, welfare is fine, free medical care is fine, free education is fine, but get a job and actually try working for a living and we are going to fine those evil inhuman dirty capitalist pigs who are trying to help you feed and care for your own family.

    Without the socialist benefits argument, how could any freedom loving human deny a hard working South American migrant the right to find a job here in this section of the globe?

    Our middle class socialism ends up robbing the world's poor of the dignity of work.

    Got to love all that money spent on wars for freedom overseas while the totalitarian fascist noose gets tightened here at home.

    Your identity papers please or you cannot work!


  10. Lloyd the Idiot Avatar
    Lloyd the Idiot

    I strongly support a gulag for Farmvilleans – no matter the cost.

    I am so sick and tired of all those darn Facebook postings!

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