Support Immigrants on Hunger Strike at For-Profit Prison

Target: Bryan S. Wilcox, Acting Field Office Director at Northwest Detention Center.

Goal: Immediately address the demands of hunger strikers for better conditions and wages within the prison.

Hundreds of undocumented immigrants are on hunger strike to protest the poor conditions and extremely low wages at the for-profit Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington state. Hunger strikers demand better food, hygiene, and medical care within the prison, which is owned by GEO Group, the major private prison corporation in the United States. The strike comes as the Trump administration pushes a harsh crackdown against immigrants living in the country and struggles to find new suitable facilities to house immigrants arrested in raids conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In this context, violations of prisoners’ rights are likely to become more frequent and human rights supporters should stand for these prisoners with no hesitation.

Besides refusing to eat their food, prisoners at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma have also launched work stoppages to protest that they are paid only a dollar per day to cook, clean, do laundry and other necessary services to keep the facility running. Indeed, there are reports that not even this ridiculous amount is guaranteed: prisoners are often asked to paint walls or wash floors in exchange for simply having a piece of chicken or candy. The situation is even more outraging as such insulting promises are not always fulfilled, and prisoners can do extra work for no compensation at all. The prison is operating at overcapacity and, therefore, services that have always been precarious are deteriorating more and more.

While GEO Group pays $1 daily to the inmates at the Northwest Detention Center, it makes around $165 per day per imprisoned person. The corporation is facing a class-action lawsuit arguing that it violates federal anti-slavery laws in its Aurora Prison, in the state of Colorado, where it also pays $1/day for detainees’ work. Modern-day slavery is the result of decades of mass incarceration policies in the United States, and it tends to get worse since the current Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, called immigration “an attack on our national security.” The Trump administration endorses private prison companies and its horrific practices, and it is crucial to stand by every initiative that fights against that. Sign the petition to show you support the hunger strikers and demand immediate changes at the Tacoma facility.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Wilcox,

I urge you to immediately address the requests of hundreds of prisoners that went on hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington state. These prisoners are asking for some basic needs that should be guaranteed to any human being: better food, hygiene, and medical care. The facility is operating at overcapacity, and changes should be done urgently to preserve these human lives.

Furthermore, it is unacceptable that while inmates receive $1 per day to run the essential services for the facility, the company makes around $165 per day per imprisoned person. I demand that you endorse prisoners’ claims against this policy pushed by GEO Group, owner of the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Seattle Globalist

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3 Comments

  1. Angela Rabon says:

    All for-profit prisons must be shut down. There is too much potential for problems.

  2. Northwest Detention Center is treating the immigrants despicably. For-profit means just what it says – out for the MONEY. They are treating these people like slaves while raking in huge amounts of money. This is horrendous, unconscionable and unacceptable and MUST be stopped.

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