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Two sides weigh in on Crete detention center proposal

Wed, 04 Apr 2012 15:15:19 CDT
By: IPR's Rachel Otwell

   A private company has plans to build an immigration detention center in Crete, in the far south suburbs of Chicago. But the Illinois Senate has approved legislation that would ban such facilities. IPR's Rachel Otwell has details.


Fred Tsao is with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. He says any time a detention center is built by a private company, the profit motive can have bad consequences for detainees and workers.

"They'll spend less on medical care or they'll spend less on food, or they'll spend less on training or wages, or they'll spend less on heating."

Tsao supports legislation that would require all detention centers in Illinois be state-run. He says the role of detaining people should be a government function. And Illinois already bars private companies from running prisons. The Corrections Corporation of America has proposed building a detention center in Crete. Steve Owen is with the corporation, which owns and operates dozens of facilities around the country.

"This company has a strong track-record of taking good care of its employees, paying competitive wages, providing them the training and the equipment they need to do a good job day in and day out."

Owen says the company was asked to build in Crete by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

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