1. Press Release
  2. Criminal Justice, Immigrants & Refugees

FCNL Applauds Homeland Security Advisory Council Vote Urging a Reduction of Privatized Detention

By Hannah Graf Evans, December 2, 2016

A strong majority of Homeland Security Advisory Council members voted to phase out private prisons, in a surprising dissent from the group’s draft recommendation to continue DHS use of private prisons.

Yesterday, the Homeland Security Advisory Council subcommittee released a draft report recommending the Department of Homeland Security continue the use of private prisons, despite acknowledging that private detention centers lack the same amount of oversight as federally run institutions.

However, upon release of the report, three-quarters of the full Advisory Council's members voted to endorse the report’s direction for increased oversight, with an additional recommendation that DHS shift away from the private prison model. Many HSAC members come from law enforcement, military, and security backgrounds, and this recommendation marks a sea change in attitudes toward private prisons.

Hannah Graf Evans, FCNL’s lead lobbyist on immigration policy states:

“For as long as immigrants are detained, the practice must be transparent, conditions must be humane, and facilities must be fully accessible to legal service providers and human rights observers. It is impossible to fully pursue these commonsense proposals when the policies keeping an unprecedented number of immigrants detained are being pushed and maintained with an underlying profit-motive.

“We must focus our efforts on reducing the overall use of detention, and that starts with a commitment to phase out the misguided partnership with profit-driven companies who benefit from prolonged and continued detention. We applaud that three-quarters of HSAC publicly agree that an end to privately run detention should be pursued, and urge the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to heed this call.”

Press Contact: Hannah Graf Evans, Domestic Policy Associate - (202) 903-2537, hannah@fcnl.org

Hannah Graf Evans

  • Former Legislative Representative, Immigration and Refugee Policy

Hannah Graf Evans led FCNL's lobbying for compassionate immigration and refugee policies, with a particular focus on detention practices, the rights of border communities, and protection of vulnerable communities. Hannah served as co-chair of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition steering committee for three years.