Friday, February 20, 2009


THE NOVEMBER DEATH of a Prince William County man in immigration custody at Piedmont Regional Jail has prompted Immigration and Customs Enforcement to suspend placing detainees at the facility, three hours south of the District near Farmville, Va.

In recent years, the rural county jail has contracted with ICE at rock-bottom rates to become a principal storehouse for non-citizen detainees from Northern Virginia and the District awaiting deportation. But since the November 28 death of detainee Guido Newbrough, ICE has launched an investigation into medical care at the facility, and its detainee population has fallen from 330 to 53 as of Wednesday. The jail laid off 50 of its 135 employees this week.

"There is no effort underway to cease utilizing Piedmont. However, we have stopped housing detainees at Piedmont while we continue to monitor current conditions at the facility," said Cori Bassett, an ICE spokeswoman.

The suspension comes at a particularly sensitive time for Piedmont and the town of Farmville, which has 7,000 residents. Piedmont had been earning $46.25 a day for each of the ICE detainees it housed in dormitory-style cells with triple bunk beds. Business was so robust that a group of investors announced a deal with Farmville officials last year to build a $21 million, 1,000-bed, privately run immigration detention facility there, pledging to convert the job-starved town into a hub for ICE operations in the mid-Atlantic.

Yeah, buddy. Hustling investors can always find the cash when it comes to making yet another quick buck. We at the Two-Fisted Quorum expressly approve of better, even strict enforcement of this nation's immigration laws, including the rounding up, penalizing and deportation of those who have skirted the system, and honest news about mismanagement of detainees is always disappointing and sad, but something is repugnant about how seamlessly a group of investors always manages to scramble into place to "fill a need" just in the nick of time to make some easy money, especially at the public trough.

Read it all.

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