Fed Payments For Holding Immigrants Vary Widely

Texas – Federal officials have begin an overhaul of the widely criticized system used to incarcerate immigrants awaiting hearings and deportation.

Their challenge includes a deep inconsistency in the amount paid to private prisons and jails that hold thousands of such detainees.

Contracts obtained by The Associated Press illustrate the problem in paper-heavy detail.

AP reports some county jails charge only the actual cost of housing an immigrant. Others acknowledge partnering with private prison companies to profit from the system.

Last week, the Obama administration announced major reforms in the detention of illegal immigrants. The list includes placing federal employees inside the largest facilities to monitor detainee treatment.

Haskell County, Texas, takes in about $1,000 per month more than it pays a private contractor to run its Rolling Plains Regional Detention Center. A county official says the extra money is used to boost salaries in the three-man sheriff's department.

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Copyright 2009 The Associated Press