Prince William Will Let Controversial 287g Program Expire

Prince William Will Let Controversial 287g Program Expire

A statement from Occoquan District Supervisor Kenny Boddye:

Last night, the Prince William County Jail Board decided to allow the controversial 287g detention program to lapse on June 30. (If you haven’t yet watched 9500 Liberty, I encourage you to do so for a fuller understanding of the roots of this program which targets immigrant communities.)

As I have said in the past, I do not believe that local tax dollars should be going toward enforcing federal immigration law. While our adult detention center is given partial reimbursement for our participation in the agreement, as of last year Prince William County has spent nearly $2.4 Million to support it. A previous Board of Supervisors voted to raise taxes by five percent and cut funding from the public safety budget in order to get the program started back at its inception.

It’s important to note that the jail is still struggling with the highest turnover rates in years as corrections officers and counselors are leaving for better-paying jobs. We could be using the dollars saved from the 287g agreement to invest in wrap-around services for those returning to the community for incarceration and those who support them.

In addition to financial costs, 287g cost us in the form of an eroded community trust, as a time where people are looking for leaders to promote trust between law enforcement and those they serve. The 287g agreement has proven to do the opposite for several segments of our community; constituents have expressed to me that they have family members who are afraid to report crimes to the police out of fear of deportation.

And according to our police chief, Barry Barnard, the return on these investments just is not there: “I’m not seeing any hard data where the 287 program has been shown to be the direct cause of any measurable crime reduction…I do wonder if this program has run its course.”

It is for those reasons that I opposed the renewal of the 287g agreement and I applaud the Jail Board for discontinuing it. It is time that we join the rest of the cities, counties and towns in Virginia – save one – that are able to keep their communities safe while not committing local resources toward federal immigration enforcement. As Prince William Police Chief Barry Barnard indicated in his own remarks, 287g presents challenges of trust between the community and law enforcement, noting that he believes the program has caused more harm than good.

At a time when our community, nation and world are trying to heal long-standing injustices against marginalized communities, this is an important step in the right direction.

A Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations: The End of 13 Years of the Divisive 287g Program:

The end of 287 g program in Prince Wiliam COunty – Thirteen years of "Lucha"

Posted by VACOLAO – Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations on Tuesday, June 30, 2020