Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Immigrant Detainees Staging Hunger Strikes to Protest Deplorable Confinement

By Aura Bogado, AlterNet
August 7, 2009

When more than 60 prisoners at the South Louisiana Correctional Center in Basile, LA, began a hunger strike last week, in protest of the facility's deplorable conditions, guards at the immigrant detention center placed at least six of them in solitary confinement for 60 days. The planned 72-hour strike was the fifth of its kind in one month at the facility, whose parent company, LCS Corrections Services, holds a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to manage the detention center.

Last week, the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice, along with other human rights and civil liberties groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, urging her to address the mounting complaints at the detention center. "Over the past one month this center has become a symbol of all of our national concerns about ICE's widespread failure to ensure its facilities … meet ICE's own minimum detention standards," wrote Saket Soni, Executive Director for the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice. Detainees, he wrote, are "risking their own health to call attention to ICE's violation if its own minimum standards and to demand permanent improvements." [...]

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