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York County, Pennsylvania to Pay U.S. $16 Million for Inflating Immigrant Detention Figures

WASHINGTON – York County, PA, will pay the United States $16 million to settle allegations that it inflated claims to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for housing INS detainees, the Justice Department announced today. York County, which operates York County Prison, is one of the largest providers of detention services in the nation.

The settlement arises from an intergovernmental services agreement between York and INS to house detainees in York County Prison. The parties entered into the agreement in 1995, at a rate of $50 a day per detainee. In 2000, INS agreed to increase the rate to $60 a day based on York’s certified statement of prison operating costs and its representation of the inmate population of the prison. York represented that the average daily population of the prison was 996 inmates for the applicable period, rather than 1,544 as the county reported separately to the state. The United States alleges that the reduced number of inmates resulted in an inflated rate charged to the United States for detainees housed from October 1999 through March 2003.

On March 1, 2003, INS, formerly an agency within the Department of Justice, was reorganized as the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement within the Department of Homeland Security.

The government’s investigation was conducted by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General. The OIG’s Fraud Detection Office and Philadelphia Regional Audit Office collaborated in developing the evidence which formed the basis for the government’s claims. The OIG’s audit can be found at