California Takes a Bold Stance Against For-Profit Immigrant Detention Centers

VIA CIYJA BLOG

California – Governor Brown signed SB29, known as Dignity Not Detention, the country’s first legislation against for-profit immigrant detention centers. This victory was a direct result of years of organizing, raising awareness, and building momentum by immigrant justice advocates and communities.

Dignity Not Detention is a step toward ending for-profit detention centers in California by prohibiting the state government from entering into new contracts with private companies seeking to detain immigrants for pay. The bill also will prohibit private property from being used to build new detention centers and prevents existing contracts from being modified or extended.

CIYJA acknowledges that this is not a solution toward the broader issue of immigrant criminalization, but it is a stepping stone toward ensuring that we end immigrant detention and get ICE out of California.

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Take the profit out of immigration jails, say WA congress members

Immigration detention is a booming business in the U.S., mostly run by private, for-profit contractors. A new bill in Congress aims to phase out these private facilities, including the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.

“One thing I am 100 percent confident of is that there is a cheaper, more humane way to treat the undocumented population in our country,” said Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington).

On Tuesday, Smith and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) plan to introduce legislation that calls for an overhaul of the immigration detention system.

Currently, 90 percent of federal detention is outsourced to private contractors or local jails and the regulations vary from place to place.

“There’s no accountability,” Jayapal said. “There’s no transparency. And people are literally making a profit off of people being put into detention. I think it’s important for the public to understand that it’s costing them a lot of money when there are a lot of alternatives.”

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Philly pension board considers divesting from private prisons

dixon-182591-f-wp-content-uploads-2017-10-656385_00fdfe48e63c990-e1506957699984-1200x799Via The Inquirer | By Claudia Vargas

Some members of the Philadelphia Board of Pensions want to sell off $1.2 million worth of stock it owns of for-profit prison companies as a statement of moral disapproval of an industry that has drawn health and safety complaints.

The amount is a sliver of the $5 billion that the fund has in its various investments, but the city has a history of adjusting its portfolio around progressive causes.

“The board is one of the leading organizations in the country in having a social conscience,” Pedro Rodriguez, the city’s Human Resources Director and pension board member said, referencing the fund’s focus on inclusion and diversity in its portfolio. “This is just an extension of that philosophy.”

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Immigrant Rights Group denounces ICE retaliation against sanctuary cities with sweeping nationwide raid

Washington, DC — Detention Watch Network denounces Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) operation ‘Safe City’ that targeted sanctuary cities with nationwide raids impacting nearly 500 individuals, their families and their communities.
The following is a statement by Danny Cendejas, Organizing Director of Detention Watch Network:

“On the heels of the public outrage over the leaked ‘Operation Mega,’ ICE used operation ‘Safe City’ to retaliate against immigrants and advocates, while also targeting jurisdictions that have taken steps toward protecting the rights and safety of all their residents.

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Hunger Strike Victory- Washington State files suit against GEO Group, private prison company that owns Northwest Detention Center

Tacoma, WA – The Attorney General of Washington announced a lawsuit today against the private prison profiteers, GEO Group, who own and run the Tacoma, Washington immigration prison, the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC). The lawsuit is a direct result of over three years of hunger strikes and work stoppages by people detained at the facility. This year alone, there have been five hunger strikes, and whistle-blowers have faced repression from both Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and GEO Group, in the form of solitary confinement, threats of force-feeding, and retaliatory transfers to different facilities across the country. Today’s lawsuit by the Attorney General represents a victory for hunger strikers, whose heroic efforts to bring light to the abuses of immigration detention despite repression have led the state of Washington to take action.

The lawsuit takes on one of the most consistent demands of people on hunger strike  – the abuses of the $1/day “volunteer” work program. People detained carry out nearly all of the work of the facility, from cleaning to laundry to painting to routine maintenance, including waxing the floors. Hunger strikers have described receiving no training, no protective gear, and to suffering workplace injuries that go untreated. One recent communication from a detained person stated, “We worked until three this morning. We were painting the detention center.” Another stated, “This week folks were offered chips or a soup for several nights of waxing the floors, so not even $1/day.”

NWDC Resistance has been documenting the immigrant-led resistance against ICE and GEO Group at the Tacoma facility. An 11-minute documentary on the recent hunger-strikes which led to the filing of the Attorney General’s lawsuit was released today. It is available at https://www.youtube..com/watch?v=VGG8b7bB1to&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop , and features hunger strikers.  “The people most affected by the Northwest Detention Center – those detained – have been leading the resistance against it. We are glad to see the Attorney General stepping up to join their fight,” said Maru Mora Villalpando of NWDC Resistance. She pointed out that the federal government must be held accountable as well: “The federal government set the $1/day rate, and ICE continues to round up and cage people at the GEO-run facilities, and ignore GEO’s abuses.”

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Take Action: Support #AdelantoHungerStrikers Demand Justice and Freedom

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In June, Adelanto detainees began making headlines by going on three hunger strikes against impossibly high bonds and inhumane living conditions that include physical abuse and medical neglect. Nine Central American and 20 Haitians refugees came together to protest these conditions, many faced extreme violence from GEO guards! 

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How JPMorgan Chase Is Cashing in on Private Prisons

Via Alternet | By Hannah Lownsbrough

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, speaks at the JPMorgan Healthcare Investment Conference on January 8, 2013.
Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr

JPMorgan Chase, like so many corporations, is trying to have its cake and eat it under the Trump administration. In the last few weeks, it has invested time, public relations’ efforts and money in presenting itself as a defender of human rights. But the $2 million Chase pledged to fight racism is a drop in the ocean compared to the potential yield from its massive investment in the private prison system: one of the starkest manifestations of racial injustice in the U.S. today, profiting primarily from the detention of immigrants seeking a new life in the U.S. The DACA cancellation last week will only further boost the huge profit to be made from keeping yet more people under lock and key.

Now Trump has canceled DACA, JPMorgan Chase must decide how serious it really is about this newly discovered sense of social consciousness. For its stance on human rights to have real meaning, the corporation must divest from the private prison system. Taking a real public position might hurt profits, but may help convince critics that the company means business when it comes to standing up for racial justice.

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