In the United States of America, we expect our government to carry out actions for all persons in a manner reflecting our values, respect for basic human dignity, and the rule of law.
Grassroots Leadership, Southwest Workers Union, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the ACLU of Texas have joined together to denounce atrocious human rights abuses exacerbated by abhorrent conditions at the Reevess County Dentention Center in Pecos, Texas (Reeves). In the last four years, at least nine deaths were reported at Reeves where countless prisoners fear for thei lives on a daily basis.
Reeves is a county-owned facility associated under contract with the GEO Group and regulated by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). We believe that Texas communites deserve sustainable jobs with diginity, NOT more prisons. Reeves is part of a massive expansion of the federal dentention system which divides and marginalizes communities, draining valuable resources which could be funneled into real economic alternatives or educational programs.
Residents at Reeves are federal prisoners segeregated becuase of thier immigration status. As a result of this, prisoners confined to Reeves have died while serving long sentences solely for immigration-related violations. Further, the 1996 federal laws broadly expanded the definition of "aggravated felony" to include immigration-related violations. Since then, persons charged with "illegal re-entry" are amony the fastest growing groups in the federal prison population. We believe these policies and practices of selective enforcement programs MUST end. We do not need any more laws separating families and perpetuating the criminalization and demonization of immigrants.
Finally, we urge the Obama Administration and the Depratment of Justice, which oversees the federal prision system, to end the BOP contract with the controversial GEO Group, to investigate the abuses at Reeves, and to ensure humane and adequate conditions for all inmates.
Crisis at Reeves County Detention Center
The crisis at Reeves results from deliberate bad decisions at the federal court level resulting in overcrowding and segregating immigrants into the worst prisons. Southern district courts are increasingly charging people with felonies for immigration-related crimes and are literally throwing the book at them. At Reeves, you will find that 5- and 10-year sentences are common punishment for immigrants charged with re-entry into the U.S. GEO guards and prison administrators treat the prisoners like animals, feed them inedible food, and deny them basic learning or work opportunities. Major problems at Reeves include:
- High rates of preventable deaths and suicides
- No doctors on site for emergency medical care or psychiatric treatment
- Violations of federal inmate-guard staffing requirements
- Prisoners living under constant states of lockdown
- Overcrowded living conditions
- Abuse of power by officials: threats of punishment with longer stays in prison
- Indiscriminate use of Solitary Housing Unit (SHU) for medical isolation purposes
- Ignoring detainees medical concerns
For detailed information on Reeves' problems please click here.