Rhode Island’s Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility has struggled since officials at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement pulled out their detainees in 2008, following the death of a Chinese national held there. That pullout happened shortly after the facility expanded to hold 770 detained people.
The detention center, which owes about $97.3 million in bonds, was taken over by an outside financial professional earlier this year.
The facility is supposed to kick in money to the city of Central Falls, R.I., which had its own financial problems and eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2011. When the city’s lawyers redrew revenue forecasts as part of its financial revival, lawyers pointed out that they hadn’t been getting—nor did they expect to receive—payments from the facility, which takes in detained people from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, according to its website.
An article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal shows how some cities and states that took on risk to build jails or prisons are hurting after crime unexpectedly fell and the inmate population declined.