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Private firm will house up to 1,300 immigration detainees in Southern California

June 1, 2011 | 11:01 am

An inmate stands in his cell at the Orange County jail in Santa Ana.

A private management company will house up to 1,300 immigration detainees in Southern California after an agreement between the company, the city of Adelanto and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced Wednesday.

The city approached ICE to express interest in housing a detention facility and in turn negotiated with Florida-based GEO Group Inc. to house the facility, said ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice.

The company purchased the 650-bed facility from Adelanto last year for about $28 million and invested $22 million to renovate and retrofit it, according to company officials. A 650-bed expansion on adjacent land is expected to be complete by the end of 2012. 

At full occupancy, GEO is expected to generate about $42 million in yearly revenue with a 75% occupancy guarantee, company officials said.

The agreement “marks another important step in the agency’s long-term effort to reform the immigration detention system,” ICE officials said in a statement. 

ICE also is currently in negotiations with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department to extend an existing contract at the Mira Loma Detention Facility in Lancaster and is in discussions with the Orange County Sheriff's Department to expand its detention contract with that agency.


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Photo: Inmates at the Orange County Jail in Santa Ana on May 24, 2011. Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters