The Trump administration has paid $33,120,000 to the private prison company Caliburn to keep the Homestead Detention Center up and running even though no children have been housed there since Aug. 3.
Paying for empty beds is a common practice in the private prison industry, reported the New Yorker.
One Caliburn employee told the Miami Herald how employees are paid to do nothing all day:
We play board games, cards, watch movies and sometimes play sports. We’re just waiting to see when the kids come back. ‘Til then, we chill.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) questioned Jonathan Hayes, the Acting Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, about the “600 a day for 1,200 nonexistent human beings at Homestead right now every single day…” which costs taxpayers a total of $720,000 a day.
Hayes defended the massive waste of taxpayer dollars to Caliburn (which is so toxic even Bank of America severed its ties in June):
I will state if we remove the staff at Homestead, what I was told by my planning and logistics team, you’re looking at a minimum of 90 to 120 days in order to reactivate the staff back for that.
And again, given the extreme uncertainty of referrals coming across our nation’s southern border, and how many kids we might have to care for, that wasn’t a switch that was turned off at this point.