Forced labor is nothing new in the prison system but Immigration detention facilities are a different matter. The detainees at these facilities are not convicts, they are primarily refugees whose only crime was to cross the U.S. border without documentation. In many cases, these immigrants are fleeing violence and poverty in their countries of origin; they have not been convicted of any crime. Furthermore, according to the CoreCivic lawsuit, the labor these detainees are forced to do does not benefit the tax-paying public; it simply allows this private company to cut its own operating costs and increase its profit margin.
Should we stand by and allow CoreCivic or any private prison company to use a piece of Wyoming to continue these practices?
CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America, stands accused of using the punishing conditions of solitary confinement to manage its detainee labor program, which pays detainees well below minimum wage for jobs that keep its facilities running. A person who was detained at CoreCivic’s Otay Mesa facility for ten years, and his co-plaintiff claim that during their detention, they and other detainees were forced to clean bathrooms and medical examination rooms, do laundry and work in the library – all for $1 a day. The complaint also alleges that in many cases, detainees were not paid at all. This is why they don’t bring jobs to communities and why a new facility will not help Evanston grow. CoreCivic is the target of several lawsuits alleging that “voluntary” work programs at their facilities violate state minimum-wage laws, as well as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and other labor protection statutes. Paul Wright, executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center, the parent company of Prison Legal News said, “This is a testament to their own greed. Instead of hiring somebody at minimum wage to do these maintenance tasks and housekeeping jobs, they would rather enslave these prisoners.”
CoreCivic is guilty of forced labor and using solitary confinement as a way to force detainees to do what they want. Do we want to be part of this? Aren’t we better than this?
A person being held in Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia was punishment following a pay dispute with CoreCivic. The amount in question was $8. This is the latest instance in which CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America, stands accused of using the punishing conditions of solitary confinement to manage its detainee labor program, which pays detainees well below minimum wage for jobs that keep its facilities running. Other instances of CoreCivic using isolation to punish detainee workers are detailed in a class-action lawsuit filed in Georgia which claims that CoreCivic’s operations at Stewart amount to a “deprivation scheme intended to force detained immigrants to work for nearly free.” Punishment, including solitary confinement, is used to ensure work gets done, the suit alleges.
CoreCivic makes money by cutting corners at the expense of human lives. Are you comfortable with forced immigrant labor taking place in our back yard for the purpose of making profit for people who don’t care about Wyoming or the people in it?
CoreCivic operates the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement family detention center at Dilley, Texas, the largest facility of its kind. This facility is responsible for the death of a 1-year-old girl who was not given proper medical care while being held there. Her family’s lawyer said “CoreCivic allowed poor conditions to fester at the 2,400-bed facility”. We see over and over again that private prison companies only care about is profit and they will work toward their goal of more and more money at the expense of immigrant lives. The stories of human rights violations and deaths has translated into $171 million in revenue at just the Dilley facility last year according to their financial statements.
CoreCivic is a prison company that makes millions of dollars from locking up children and families and takes no responsibility when deaths occur. Do we want them to bring this to Wyoming?
CoreCivic’s profit model is built around understaffing and constant lockdowns of poorly run, exceedingly dangerous prisons. For years, prisoners and their loved ones have begged for government officials to intervene and put an end to CoreCivic’s cultivated environment of abuse, neglect and death. The only acceptable solution to the human rights disaster that CoreCivic has been allowed to create is to shut this corporation down. No one should profit from torture.
This prison will cause irreversible damage to the detainees held inside and their families. These detainees will be our neighbors and friends. Does Wyoming really want to give a piece of land to CoreCivic so they can bring their terrible practices here?
A family filed a federal wrongful-death lawsuit against CoreCivic after their family member who was 26 died in Silverdale Detention Facility in Chattanooga. They are alleging “CoreCivic knowingly and with deliberate indifference to her constitutional rights denied her reasonable medical treatment for serious and obvious medical conditions, which were actually and constructively known by them as well as lay witnesses, thereby causing her extensive physical and emotional pain, suffering and death.” On her last phone call with her mother she said “My chest is hurting, I’m dehydrated. I can’t walk because my kidneys are messed up. I can barely breathe because my chest is inflamed. It’s really bad. Really bad. I don’t know what to do.” Twenty-four hours later she collapsed, unconscious. Two days later she was dead.
Is Evanston ready for the first death that takes place in this facility and the national attention it will bring?
CoreCivic Lawsuit Alleges Forced Labor Practices at Detention Centers, By KJ McElrath April 27, 2019 – https://topclassactions.com/civil-rights/detention-center-labor/888464-corecivic-lawsuit-alleges-forced-labor-practices-at-detention-centers/
GEO Group, CoreCivic Face Class Actions Alleging Prisoner ‘Slave Labor’, Loaded on APRIL 15, 2019 by Derek Gilna – https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2019/apr/15/geo-group-corecivic-face-class-actions-alleging-prisoner-slave-labor/
IMMIGRANT DETAINEE ACCUSES ICE CONTRACTOR CORECIVIC OF LOCKING HIM IN SOLITARY OVER $8, Ryan Devereaux, Spencer Woodman, April 19 2018, 8:34 a.m https://theintercept.com/2018/04/19/solitary-confinement-immigration-detention-ice-corecivic/
Private prison company sued in death of migrant child, 1 By NOMAAN MERCHANT- July 31, 2019 – https://apnews.com/0730eaeaae2249ae987072d98adf1bcc
CoreCivic Prisons in Tennessee Have Twice as Many Murders, Four Times the Homicide Rate as State-Run Facilities, Loaded on JULY 16, 2019 – https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2019/jul/16/corecivic-prisons-tennessee-have-twice-many-murders-four-times-homicide-rate-state-run-facilities/
How a Probation Violation Ended in Death at a CoreCivic Jail, by CARI WADE GERVIN SEP 21, 2017 5 AM – https://www.nashvillescene.com/news/features/article/20976315/how-a-probation-violation-ended-in-death-at-a-corecivic-jail