10:40 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA
The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and CCA
on behalf of three women who were sexually abused at the T. Don Hutto Immigration Detention Center. The facility was previously the target of a lawsuit that CCA lost over squalid conditions and negligent medical care; after the lawsuit, the facility was transitioned to a female-only prison. Before, it had housed entire families of immigrants, including children who were forced to dress in prison scrubs and provided with the barest minimum of education and programming. Converting the facility to female-only has not stopped the problem however, and this is not even the first instance of sexual abuse of immigrants AT THIS PRISON.
To allow CCA to continue to operate this, and other, facilities is a reprehensible moral failure. We as a nation have an obligation to our fellow human beings, these immigrants, many of whom come to this country seeking asylum from their homelands, to treat them respectfully and humanely. Despite all the rampant anti-immigrant settlement sweeping the nation, many of the 400,000+ people who pass through ICE custody each year are only guilty of status violations, not a major criminal offense. Private prison companies are quite efficient at avoiding effective oversight (which is about the only thing they’re efficient at), a situation which has permitted companies like CCA to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from taxpayer dollars while systematically abusing and neglecting the human beings in their care.
This is Why I Hate CCA.
9:58 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA
Private prisons often appear so attractive to lawmakers because they claim they are able to save bundles of money compared to government-run prisons. While this isn’t exactly the truth
, these companies still routinely cut corners in almost every aspect of their operations in order to maximize profits, because, after all, that’s what they really care about. Since staff expenses (salary, benefits, training) comprise the largest portion of any facility’s budget, private prisons often pay dramatically less to their staff in the name of profit.
The problem with this approach lies in the fact that private prisons, because they offer less in salary and benefits, aren’t able to attract as high-quality candidates as government-run prisons. Just recently, when Hernando County Florida took over operation of its jail from CCA, the sheriff hired only about 1/3 of the private company’s employees to work for his department (and remarked at the time that he couldn’t believe a lot of CCA’s employees weren’t incarcerated themselves). Anecdotally, it’s rather well-known that many guards at private prisons have some unsavory histories, and guards who screw up at one prison or another (government-run or not) can usually find work at a different private prison, where the companies rarely perform background checks that are as extensive as the government would. Combine all this with the industry’s aversion to providing adequate and consistent training to their guards (because, again, that would hurt the bottom line), and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Unfortunately, this disaster revealed itself to women who immigrated to the US but found themselves locked up in the Hutto Correctional Center, part of ICE’s network in Texas, which is operated by CCA. A guard at the facility just pleaded guilty to sexually molesting immigrants as he transported them to and from the facility.
9:43 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA
The riots and hunger strikes
I reported on last week were only part of the ongoing struggle asylum seekers in Australia have been engaged in for months, if not years, challenging their confinement in private, for-profit detention centers.
The hunger strike at Northern Immigration Detention Center continues, as prisoners have now climbed onto the roof of the facility to stage their protest. More prisoners have joined the strike since it began, with 20 prisoners now staked out on the roof, starving themselves.
Meanwhile, juveniles from Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran being housed at the Broadmeadows detention center have acted out in desperation, not having access to case managers for months on end. They have sewn their lips together in protest, and posted the pictures on facebook to try to draw attention to their struggle.
8:36 am in Uncategorized by WhyIHateCCA
Australia has experienced all sorts of problems with its private prisons in the past, similar to the US’s experience. But this week has brought a new slew of issues to the forefront. Private prisons in Australia are used primarily to house immigration detainees.
At the Christmas Island Immigration Detention Center, prisoners have been rioting and burning the facility for at least 3 days. Frustrated with the government dragging its feet on whether or not to grant asylum, the immigrants have been fighting with the prison and police for days. Over at the North Point Correctional Centre, prisoners have begun burning various parts of the facility. As one of the Christmas Island asylum seekers said, “They have been here a long time and got rejected without reason…They can’t stay in detention like animals waiting, waiting with no justice.” The situation is so bad that guards with just 2 weeks of training have been called in, and many asylum seekers are being placed in solitary confinement, which opens up a whole new can of worms that for the sake of brevity I’ll only mention that once.
Inspired by their brethren at Christmas Island, mainland asylum seekers have begun to protest the conditions of their confinement as well, launching a hunger strike at the Cape York AFB. The facility is operating at almost 200 percent capacity, as immigrants in Australia, like in the US, remain incarcerated in a sort of legal limbo. The plight of these prisoners has caught the attention of the Human Rights Alliance, who is calling on the UN to step in and require UN monitors to be placed at some of the private prisons to monitor conditions. Because “Human courtesies, peoples’ rights and their very dignity were disregarded. Asylum Seekers distressed were screaming not only for themselves however out of care for each other. Some distressed guards were appalled at the sheer inhumanity by the actions of the AFP (Australian Police Force) and other guards.”