A Federal Judge Put Hundreds of Immigrants Behind Bars While Her Husband Invested in Private Prisons


It was almost lunchtime inside the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, on May 12, 2008. The meatpackers, mostly migrants from Guatemala and Mexico, wore earplugs to block out the noise of the machinery and couldn’t hear the two black helicopters hovering overhead or the hundreds of armed federal immigration agents closing in around them until the production line stopped. One worker tried to flee with his knives, stabbing himself in the leg when he was pushed to the ground. “They rounded us up toward the middle like a bunch of chickens,” a 42-year-old Guatemalan worker later recalled. “Those who were hiding were beaten and shackled.”

Yet amid the national attention, one fact didn’t make the news: Before and after the raid, Reade’s husband owned stock in two private prison companies, and he bought additional prison stock five days before the raid, according to Reade’s financial disclosure forms. Ethics experts say these investments were inappropriate and may have violated the Code of Conduct for United States Judges.

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