Immigrant Prisoners Stage Uprising in Texas

Frontera NorteSur, News Report, Staff Posted: Feb 03, 2009

Details are still sketchy of an inmate uprising at a privately-operated federal detention facility in West Texas last Saturday. Reports in the U.S. and Mexican press suggest the revolt, involving hundreds prisoners at the Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos, Tex., erupted after complaints of poor medical treatment went unheeded.

Initial accounts report the uprising spanned two days, with inmates setting fires and possibly even seizing guards’ radio communication equipment. An unidentified Reeves County official earlier told El Diario de El Paso the situation was “dangerous” inside the facility managed by the Geo Group.

The uprising is now declared over, and as many as 700 former Pecos prisoners are reportedly confined at another detention center in Sierra Blanca, Tex., because sleeping areas were destroyed during Saturday’s rebellion. Many of the inmates at the Pecos prison were held on immigration law violations.

The Jan. 31 uprising was the second time inmates have staged violent protests at the prison in a period of less than two months. Although a complete assessment of injuries and property damages was not officially disclosed, at least three inmates could have been injured and hospitalized in the latest incident.

Managed by the Florida-based Geo Group, the Pecos facility is among many immigrant detention centers in the United States currently run by private companies. The jail has a capacity of 2,400 inmates, according to information posted on Geo Group’s Web site.

Formerly Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, Geo Group calls itself a “world leader” in the privatized management of correctional institutions. According to the company’s web site, “The North American market is growing rapidly, and we are focused on expanding Federal procurement opportunities.”

Geo Group reported raking in $1.024 billion in revenues during 2007, with income totaling nearly $42 million. Besides the United States, the company manages prisons in several nations, including the United Kingdom, where it also provides immigrant detention services.

Sources: El Paso Times, February 2, 2009. Article by Stephanie Sanchez. Newspaper Tree/Associated Press, February 2, 2009. El Diario de El Paso, February 2, 2009. Article by Nancy Gonzalez., February 2, 2009.

Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news Center for Latin American and Border Studies New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico

Related Articles:

Immigration Detention Reform Moves to Front Burner

A Letter From Immigration Detention

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User Comments

Chantal Apel on Feb 04, 2009 at 14:18:23 said:

These people illegally enter a country, commit a crime, and then complain about medical services provided to them?! Let's compare the medical care provided in this prison to that provided in Mexican prisons. Send these people back to their home countries and demand that the governments of the countries that encourage them to come to the U.S. then incarcerate them - at THEIR expense.

Alberta Riggins on Feb 03, 2009 at 20:44:16 said:

The Reeves detention has been known as a concentration camp.Not only those prisoners are treated so poorly and with all the racism you can encountered!!!whoever owns this facility you're a bunch of ignorant,heartless criminals!!!hope that Obama takes careof y'all!!! We heard how y'all got mad when he won and sentallthe prisoners to sleep on Nov.4th after his victoryand no one watched his speech!!!well..there's nothing y'all can do about it..these prisoners are almost free and will soon enjoy the freedom in their country!!




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