A private prison company with a troubled past looks to reopen an immigration detention facility in Texas

The World
Workers raise a fence in front of white kevlar tents

Workers carry wire mesh past the first tent-like dome erected at the privately operated prison in Raymondville, Texas, on Thursday, July 27, 2006. By the time the facility closed after a riot in 2015, it housed 2,700 immigrant prisoners.

Joe Hermosa/AP Photo

The private prison company, Management and Training Corporation, uses the slogan “B.I.O.N.I.C.” on its website and job listings. It stands for: “Believe it or not, I care.”

But inmates housed at one of MTC’s facilities in Raymondville, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley didn’t buy the private prison company’s slogan. In 2015, a protest at the Willacy County Correctional Center turned into a riot. The fighting left the facility uninhabitable and it was shut down.

MTC isn’t alone among private prison companies in its safety problems.

A review by the Department of Justice inspector general released last August showed that private prisons, which hold 12 percent of about 200,000 federal inmates, have more "safety and security incidents per capita" than those operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.