Friday, November 18 · 10:00am – 1:00pm
Georgia Detention Watch will hold a vigil at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA November 18 at 10 am.
This vigil, co-sponsored by several state and national human rights organizations, draws attention to what organizers call the collusion between the government officials and private corporations to place profits and politics over people. The vigil is expected to draw scores from across the United States, and this year organizers expect more family members directly impacted by inhumane immigration detention policies and unethical profit-making by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), owner and operator of the facility in rural Stewart County.
Organizers state their attention is on this remote detention center because it is the largest in the United States and has a growing list of documented violations of human rights abuses including conditions leading to hunger strikes, inadequate medical care, the death of two detainees, the separation of families, and the detention and deportation of U.S. citizens.
This vigil will highlight the traumatic effects of detention on the wives and children of those detained. At the Stewart Detention Center, the average time of detainment is over 50 days with very few detainees receiving legal representation. One of the highlighted cases will be that of Pedro Guzman. Guzman was detained at the Stewart facility for nearly two years, while his U.S. citizen wife, Emily, spent tens of thousands of dollars on legal representation. Last year, Pedro Guzman’s freedom was a focal point of our vigil; this November, Pedro will join us as a freed detainee who also is now a Legal Permanent Resident.
“I never knew that the immigration system in the United States was so outrageously flawed,” stated Emily Guzman, “until I began to experience it through my husband.”
About the Stewart Detention Center
Located in rural Southwest Georgia, the Stewart Detention Center detains approximately 2,000 immigrant men for deportation proceedings. Stewart is run by the Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America, the country’s largest private prison corporation.
Conditions at Stewart: Substandard and Inhumane
An April 2009 report by Georgia Detention Watch on conditions at Stewart documented violations of ICE’s own detention standards at the facility. The report charged that food and medicine are withheld as punishment and that solitary confinement is routinely imposed without a disciplinary hearing. Since the release of that report Roberto Martinez Medina died while detained at the facility. Additionally, Mark Lyttle, a U.S. citizen formerly detained at the Stewart facility, has a pending lawsuit against the U.S. government for his wrongful detention and deportation.