no-racism.net logo
 
 

[ 07. Feb 2009 ]

Riot at Private Immigration Prison in West Texas Leaves Injuries, Significant Damage

Photo by Tom Barry

Immigrants awaiting deportation who are being held in the Reeves County Detention Facility, a private jail run by the GEO Group in West Texas began a protest on Saturday, January 31, 2009. URGENT CALL for Just Treatment and Accountability in Reeves Detention Facility; Support Immigrant Detainees' Rights.

 

The protest began after a group of immigrant prisoners attempted to meet with the detention facility's authorities, demanding that a gravely ill detainee be released from solitary confinement and be taken immediately to a hospital. The prison authorities refused to listen and did not take action. The detainees responded by protesting after being ignored.

After the detainees began a spontaneous protest, a melee ensued. A fire broke out during the protest and guards immediately left the premises, locking in the prisoners behind. Some prisoners broke windows to get to other detainees who were choking and fainting, overcome by the smoke. Afterwards, the prison guards forced the immigrant inmates to stay outdoors in the prison facility yard on Saturday night. Since then, they have only been fed once a day; they have little or no water and have only three restroom facilities for almost 3,000 prisoners.

The :: Geo Group already has more than 2,800 prisoners in a facility meant to hold 2,400. Now, GEO guards are trying to force them to be held in the hallways and in around the cells. Read full story with solidarity actions below.

This is the second riot to take place in as many months, in :: December 2008 there was a riot and taking of hostages over lack of medical care and the death of an inmate.

In 2007, two prisoners at the Val Verde detention facility in Del Rio Texas, also managed by GEO Group, :: died from a mysterious disease.




URGENT ACTION: Call for Just Treatment and Accountability in Reeves Detention Facility; Support Immigrant Detainees' Rights


Urgent Action Request - Call & Fax to Support Prisoners Rights & Demands

Detainees Take Action Protesting Inhumane Conditions in Pecos, Texas Immigrant Detention Center

Immigrants awaiting deportation who are being held in a private jail run by the GEO Group began a protest last Saturday, January 31. The protest began after a group of immigrant prisoners attempted to meet with the detention facility's authorities, demanding that a gravely ill detainee be released from solitary confinement and be taken immediately to a hospital. The prison authorities refused to listen and did not take action. The detainees responded by protesting after being ignored. Read more on the immigrant prisoners protest below, after action request.

DEMAND (see talking points below)


Humane Conditions and Treatment
Independent Access
Emergency Medical Care and Accountability

  • The media, legal observers or lawyers and family members are not being allowed to see what has happened.
  • Demand accountability from the GEO Group and the Reeves County Sheriff; they must be pressured to dramatically improve the conditions, provide medical care and attention to all inmates and be held accountable for the deplorable conditions and treatment they have given immigrant prisoners.

Call and fax -- Demand accountability and safe treatment for the inmates! (see talking points below)

* The Reeves County Detention Center:
Tel (432) 447-2926 Fax (432) 447-9224

* Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties - U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS):
Toll Free (866) 644-8360 [(202) 401-1474] Fax (202) 357-8298
Timothy.keefer (at) dhs.gov and civil.liberties (at) dhs.gov

Office of Inspector General, DHS:
Fax (202) 254-4285

Office of Professional Responsibility, DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement:
Tel (877) 246-8253 Fax (202) 344-3390

ICE Office of Investigations Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Offices
Tel (703) 285-6709 Fax (703) 285-6700

AFTER YOU TAKE ACTION
Please call or send an email message to lrivas (at) nnirr.org or agarcia (at) nnirr.org after you have made a call or sent a fax. Please share a copy of your communications and any response you may receive.
(510) 465-1984 ext. 304 and ext. 305


TALKING POINTS


1. Investigate immigrant prisoner deaths and other brutal treatment being committed by guards and other local authorities at the Reeves County Detention Complex reported by detainees and their families.

Immigrant prison eyewitnesses have reported that in the last five months at least five prisoners have died in their cells and have been removed.

Independent media, legal observers and immigrant and human rights organizations must be allowed to meet and interview detainees and others to determine the changes needed to uphold the immigrant detainees' rights.

The Office of Inspector General and other responsible authorities must investigate the abuses and bring those responsible for the brutal treatment to justice.

2. Inmates are demanding medical care for all detainees, especially for those who need special treatment, such as diabetes and others who are in dire need due to negligence and/or no treatment.

Demand that the GEO group guards and warden stop punishing immigrants needing medical attention. Prisoners report that when prisoners ask for medical attention they are punished and put in solitary confinement.

Prisoners are demanding immediate transfer out of this facility because the prison is overcrowded and uninhabitable due to these deplorable conditions.

3. No retaliation against prisoners who report or complain about the conditions. When inmates complain they are immediately punished by sticking them in the "hole" - solitary confinement.

Prisoners are punished for complaining about the poor food provided and the lack of sanitary conditions (rat and cockroach/insect infestation) in the cafeteria, hallways and cells.

4. Provide adequate and healthy food; provide heating and adequate clothing, bedding and other amenities immediately.

Prisoners are being forced to eat rotten food; the prisoners that prepare the food complain that the kitchen is infested with cockroaches and they have to cook the food under these unsanitary conditions.


BACKGROUND


Immigrants awaiting deportation who are being held in a private jail run by the GEO Group began a protest last Saturday, January 31. The protest began after a group of immigrant prisoners attempted to meet with the detention facility's authorities, demanding that a gravely ill detainee be released from solitary confinement and be taken immediately to a hospital. The prison authorities refused to listen and did not take action. The detainees responded by protesting after being ignored.

After the inmates continued to raise their complaints to the guards and the warden about the treatment and deplorable conditions they were being subjected to in the "Reeves County Detention Facility" in Pecos, Texas, the detainees began a spontaneous protest. The prison authorities literally laughed at the immigrant detainees' demands and told the prisoners that they had complete power over them and could do whatever they pleased.

After the detainees began a spontaneous protest, a melee ensued. A fire broke out during the protest and guards immediately left the premises, locking in the prisoners behind. Some prisoners broke windows to get to other detainees who were choking and fainting, overcome by the smoke.

Then the guards got into SWAT vehicles (or some type of armored vehicle described as a "tortuga," a turtle, by an inmate) and began firing teargas and rubber bullets at the prisoners who had been abandoned in the facility that was on fire.

Afterwards, the prison guards forced the immigrant inmates to stay outdoors in the prison facility yard on Saturday night. Since then, they have only been fed once a day; they have little or no water and have only three restroom facilities for almost 3,000 prisoners.

Last night the prison authorities said they would let the inmates back into the facilities. But the prisoners are being forced back into a smoke-damaged building contaminated with carbon monoxide from the fire. The facility now has little or no ventilation since windows have been boarded up.

The Geo Group already has more than 2,800 prisoners in a facility meant to hold 2,400.

Now, GEO guards are trying to force them to be held in the hallways and in around the cells.

To see more on the Reeves County Facility:
http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/node/2064

Reeves County Detention Complex
98 West County Road 204
Pecos, TX 79772
TEL: (432) 447.2926
Fax: (432) 447.9224
Facility Operator: GEO Group
This is a Private facility

Go to :: map


National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights


Red Nacional Pro Derechos Inmigrantes y Refugiados
310 8th Street Suite 303
Oakland, CA 94607
Tel (510) 465-1984 ext. 305
Fax (510) 465-1885

www.migrantdiaries.blogspot.com
www.nnirr.blogspot.com
www.nnirr.org




Frontera NorteSur



February 2, 2009, Immigration News

Immigrant Prisoners Stage Uprising


Details are still sketchy of an inmate uprising at a privately-operated federal detention facility in West Texas last Saturday. Reports in the US and Mexican press suggest the revolt, involving hundreds prisoners at the Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos, Texas, erupted after complaints of poor medical treatment went unheeded.

Initial accounts report the uprising spanned two days, with inmates setting fires and possibly even seizing guards' radio communication equipment. An unidentified Reeves County official earlier told El Diario de El Paso the situation was "dangerous" inside the facility managed by the Geo Group.

The uprising is now declared over, and as many as 700 former Pecos prisoners are reportedly confined at another detention center in Sierra Blanca, Texas, because sleeping areas were destroyed during Saturday's rebellion. Many of the inmates at the Pecos prison were held on immigration law violations.

The January 31 uprising was the second time inmates have staged violent protests at the prison in a period of less than two months. Although a complete assessment of injuries and property damages was not officially disclosed, at least three inmates could have been injured and hospitalized in the latest incident.

Managed by the Florida-based Geo Group, the Pecos facility is among many immigrant detention centers in the United States currently run by private companies. The jail has a capacity of 2,400 inmates, according to information posted on Geo Group's web site.

Formerly Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, Geo Group calls itself a "world leader" in the privatized management of correctional institutions. According to the company's web site, "The North American market is growing rapidly, and we are focused on expanding Federal procurement opportunities."

Geo Group reported raking in $1.024 billion in revenues during 2007, with income totaling nearly $42 million. Besides the United States, the company manages prisons in several nations, including the United Kingdom, where it also provides immigrant detention services.

Sources: El Paso Times, February 2, 2009. Article by Stephanie Sanchez. Newspaper Tree/Associated Press, February 2, 2009. El Diario de El Paso, February 2, 2009. Article by Nancy Gonzalez. :: Lapolaka.com, February 2, 2009. :: Thegeogroupinc.com. :: Investing.businessweek.com


Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
Center for Latin American and Border Studies, New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico
For a free electronic subscription email fnsnews (at) nmsu.edu

Source :: nnirr.blogspot.com (03. Feb 2009), :: houston.indymedia.org (05. Feb 2009)