GEO Group, a major private prison corporation that makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year on the detention and supervision of immigrants, has adopted a “human rights” policy. Read it here. Go ahead, it’s short.
GEO Group is in the middle of a public relations crisis. After being infiltrated by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, exposed, and having 26 members of congress demand an investigation of their facility, GEO got slammed by the media for attempting to buy the naming rights to Florida Atlantic University. And it just…wouldn’t…stop. Even those in contact with them got humiliated—a flustered president of FAU buzzed a group of ‘Owlcatraz’ protesters with her car, striking one with her rearview mirror and causing a minor injury. Just a few weeks ago, the Department of Homeland Security opened up five investigations into civil rights violations against detainees in the Broward Transitional Center facility.
By adopting a human rights policy, GEO Group is trying its hardest to put a smiley face on getting paid to keep people from their loved ones, and punching them in the kidneys for good measure. That’s a rhetorical punch in the kidneys, but we wouldn’t be surprised.
The ‘policy’ released by GEO doesn’t lay out a single safeguard for the mistreatment detainees like those in Broward Transitional Center. The policy commits a measly two paragraphs to detainees, of which not a single word addresses mistreatment, medical assistance and counseling, visitation, prison labor, or any of the indignities GEO’s detainees face on a daily basis and get paid by the federal government to inflict. GEO makes $20 million a year off of the federal government from BTC alone.
Here are some snapshots from BTC as reported by the Sun-Sentinel:
In 2011, three detainees attempted suicide at the center, according to the 2012 federal inspection review.
In one case a “Latin female jumped 20 feet from a stair ledge” and in another a detainee “swallowed pills,” Broward Sheriff’s Office records state.
The federal review also found that 10 detainees referred to outside psychiatrists were not seen within two weeks as required by ICE standards.
Angel Raymundo, 38, originally of Guatemala, claims he developed a hernia that grew to the size of an orange while detained at BTC for six months. He was given medication for the pain but said ICE refused to arrange and pay for the recommended surgery.
His lawyer said Raymundo was not informed of the reason for the refusal. “He was just basically left in the dark,” said attorney Edward Ramos, who was recruited to help Raymundo by the activists who infiltrated BTC during the summer.
ICE released Raymundo in November, and his deportation has been put on hold for a year.
In another case, Luis de la Cruz, 39, who has been detained for more than eight months after being arrested for driving a motorcycle with an expired license, told the Sun Sentinel that he developed serious urological problems four months ago after being hit with a basketball and now must wear adult diapers.
A native of the Dominican Republic, he’s been given pain medicine and antibiotics and taken to see a specialist, but his lawyer Magdalena Cuprys said he needs more tests and has been told he’ll only be given them if he pays.
Not so much a laughing matter anymore, is it? No, and it never was.