Monday, February 2, 2009

Foreign Nationals Riot Again at Reeves County Detention Center: Claim Ongoing Medical Neligence

Prison under control after 10-hour riot
(Not what I'm hearing)
Stephanie Sanchez / El Paso Times Staff
Posted: 02/02/2009 12:00:00 AM MST

EL PASO -- A riot at the Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos [Texas] was under control 10 hours after it started and no injuries were reported, a Reeves County Sheriff's Office dispatcher said Sunday.

At about 2 p.m. Sunday, dispatch personnel said the situation was under control but it was still unknown what prompted the riot. During the riot, inmates set fires to the booking room, kitchen, infirmary and other areas of the detention center that houses as many as 2,080 inmates.

About 700 inmates were transported to a Sierra Blanca detention center for housing because sleep quarters were destroyed. Dispatch personnel said no injuries were reported, but several news accounts state three inmates were hospitalized.

The detention center, which is about 260 miles east of El Paso, is a low security level facility. This is the second violent outbreak in two months.
The GEO Group is lying to the press about this riot. They know very well what caused it. It is not the first or the second or the third time inmates have rioted over medical negligence. This is ongoing. I used to work there. They have failed medical audit after federal audit. The detainees are begging for medical services and are not getting them. They are sometimes ignored outright by lazy, under-staffed, overworked, over-tired, stressed out corrections officers who sometimes refuse to go to their cell-doors to even hear their complaints. Or, when they put in a written request, they are put on a long waiting list for services while they continue to suffer. The medical department is under funded and under-staffed. Dental services are nearly non-existent. The dentist only comes once a week and only sees from 3-5 patients. If an inmate has an abscess he is likely to suffer for days or weeks. The last riot (in December) occurred when an inmate died under conditions of neglect despite pleas for help in the night. He was ignored.

The bottom line for The GEO Group is the Almighty Dollar.

There are two major factors that lead to recidivism: poor education (including job skills) and a history of substance abuse. When I worked there as a CD Counselor my budget was ZERO. The Education budget had been slashed as well. They had no vocational training whatsoever. Medical services bordered on "crimes against humanity."

All of this is due to the "redirection" of funds by The GEO Group and by Reeves County officials at the local level, funds that have been allocated by the Feds for these vital rehabilitative services but never make it to target services that only operate as shells. Indeed, the federal government is funding a multimillion dollar shell game perpetrated by the private prison industry not just in Pecos but all over the country. To say there is poor oversight by federal contract monitors falls short of the reality. GEO is extremely well connected in Washington. I'd bet dollars to bananas that the local maintenance kick-backs that began in Pecos ten-years ago are still going on. And the food stinks.

This is Billy Sol Estes country. Some things never change.

Local administrators rationalize the abuse and neglect of those they warehouse by pointing out that the detainees are "foreign nationals" and don't deserve the amenities afforded to incarcerated U.S. citizens -- that "the taxpayers don't want to feed, house, treat and pay for 'illegal aliens' to get an education they'll just take back to their foreign countries." But the truth is that their "redneck reasoning" is used to justify or enable corporatist profiteering.

Administrators of private prisons do not care about rehabilitation; they WANT recidivism.
Dick Cheney is a major share holder in private prisons and every other government service he could privatize. The GEO Group has been involved in scandal after "riotous" scandal yet they keep getting contracts. "Follow the money."

Obama says he wants to bring change yet he hasn't said a word about the privatization of government services that went on under Bush and Cheney [READ: Corporatism & Cronyism].

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Reeves County Detention Center, Pecos, Texas
Run by The GEO Group


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