Ryan Clancy, candidate for Milwaukee County Supervisor, calls for divestment from Southwest Key
Private contractor Southwest Key is the largest non-profit operating detention centers for children, including children separated from their families, on the southern US border.
Milwaukee, WI —
Private contractor Southwest Key is the largest non-profit operating detention centers for children, including children separated from their families, on the southern US border. With roughly 460 million a year, it has collected 1.1 billion dollars in federal contracts since 2014.
In the last year on record, 2017, Southwest Key’s founder and CEO personally made 3.6 million dollars in total compensation, not counting a salary paid to his wife from the same company. That would make him the second-highest paid executive at a non-profit during that year.
Amid repeated accusations of neglect, sexual abuse, and misconduct, numerous children have died while in Southwest Key custody, including three since December.
Southwest Key has been a service provider to the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services Delinquency and Court Services Division (DCSD), providing case management, tracking services for youth and youth mentoring, and providing outreach and tracking services through the Division of Youth and Family Services.
As recently as 2017, Southwest Key, through a collaboration between Milwaukee Public Schools and the DCSD called the Juvenile Education Treatment Initiative program, provided programming and case management services for high-risk youth in Milwaukee.
“Budgets and contracts are moral documents,” said Clancy, “and this isn’t moral. We cannot be complicit in supporting companies which profit from the policy of separating children from their families. Milwaukee’s governments should all remove Southwest Key from their lists of providers, refuse to renew any existing contracts, and disqualify them from future contracts until such time as they cease to profit from child separation.”
“Milwaukee is fortunate to have many phenomenal non-profit organizations which serve youth, have a powerful track record of positive outcomes, and which don’t carry with them the baggage of child separation. I’m confident that they will step up to better serve the needs of our youth and to allow the County to disentangle itself from Southwest Key.”