Detained people say heat is so bad, floors are ‘sweating’ after power knocked out at private prisons

Detained people say heat is so bad, floors are ‘sweating’ after power knocked out at private prisons

July 20, 2022 0 By Ellen Novack

“A prisoner at the La Palma prison said the facility had been without kitchen services, laundry and hot water since Sunday evening,” Arizona Republic reported. “’They won’t crack our doors for airflow, and they are keeping us locked in the stifling cells,’ he said.” One man at the Red Rock facility said that the power outage had cut off the few tools detained people have to communicate with loved ones and others outside.

“We have no phone calls, no TV, can’t cook basically just sitting ducks,” the man said in the report. “We been on lock down since last night. They are saying that it will be three days before they get power back on.” The report said that “[a]nother prisoner at Red Rock said it was so humid the floor of their cell was sweating.”

Both private prisons have a history of abusive behavior, including directed at staffers. In 2019, a Black guard at Red Rock filed a lawsuit alleging he was shot with a riot-control weapon by a coworker in a racist attack. In 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) watchdog said that guards at La Palma violently deployed chemical agents at detained people who had been protesting lack of pandemic-related protective gear. One photo released by the inspector general showed a dozen officers in riot gear surrounding a group of men crouching for cover on the floor.

CoreCivic won a contract worth more than $420 million from Arizona to jail people at La Palma, following the closure of a state prison in Florence, Arizona Republic reported in January. At that time, more than 2,700 people were expected to be transferred from the state prison to CoreCivic’s facility. The report said that Arizona also considered going with another private prison profiteer, GEO Group, but went with CoreCivic because GEO Group would have moved detained people out of the state.

The state will pay CoreCivic $85.12 per prisoner, per day for the contract, with the state guaranteeing a minimum 90% occupancy rate,” the report said at the time. “But that cost could increase.”

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CoreCivic is getting lucrative state and federal contracts to abuse detained people and facing horrific allegations of sexual abuse at its Stewart Detention Center facility in Lumpkin, Georgia. “The complaint, which details abuse that took place from July 2021 to January 2022, includes reports from women who say a male nurse sexually assaulted them while they sought medical care at the facility,” organizations that have sued on behalf of four immigrant women said. The nurse, who had falsely misrepresented himself as a doctor to a number of the victims, still works at Stewart.

“I’m livid knowing that this man is still working at Stewart after having abused me and so many girls, even when the entire Stewart staff knew what happened,” said Viviana Doe, one of the complainants. “It scares me so much to see Stewart staff cover up to allow the abuse of so many women, and that the employee who sexually harassed me is still there, exposed to hundreds of women.”

”The human rights groups and the complainants are calling for a thorough investigation of the allegations, the immediate closure of Stewart, the release of people currently in detention, reparation and a path to immigration relief in the United States,” groups said. Remember that CoreCivic was formerly Corrections Corporation of America, but in 2016 changed its name as part of a public relations stunt. New name, same inhumane conditions.

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