Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Detainee Class Action Suits Threaten Private Prisons

Trump wants to expand use of private prisons, but a ruling by a federal judge in Texas could present a big problem. “The judge’s ruling could encourage similar lawsuits against other immigrant detention centers,” the Daily Beast notes. “That, in turn, that could have significant implications for President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement plans.” –TPOI editor

Detainees Sue Private Prison for ‘Forced Labor'
As many as 60,000 current and former detainees may join a class-action suit against one of the nation’s largest private prison companies over unpaid labor.

By Betsy Woodruff, Daily Beast
February 27, 2017
The nation’s second largest private prison company is facing some serious legal challenges—and other companies may soon be in the same situation.

On Monday, a federal judge ruled that current and former detainees held at an immigrant detention center in Colorado can join a class-action lawsuit against GEO Group, a private prison company. The plaintiffs allege that the GEO Group forced detainees to work for extremely low wages or for no wages at all, and in some cases threatened detainees with solitary confinement as punishment if they refused to work. The center holds undocumented immigrants facing deportation.[…]

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Former Detainees Can Sue Private Prisons for Forced Labor
Up to 60,000 people could join a class-action against prison companies they say paid them little or nothing for their work, and threatened solitary confinement if they objected.

By Rhonda Fannin, Texas Standard
February 28, 2017
In an unprecedented case, a federal judge ruled Monday that a private prison company can be sued under federal laws prohibiting what amounts to slave labor.

The ruling allows current and former detainees at a privately-run immigrant detention center to join a class-action suit alleging that the contractor running the prison forced detainees to work for low or no wages, threatening solitary confinement for those who refused.

GEO Group, one of the nation’s largest private prison companies, runs facilities in Colorado and in Texas. Betsy Woodruff with the Daily Beast reports as many as 60,000 current and former detainees could act as plaintiffs in the case.[...]

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Photo: Bob Jagendorf/Flickr

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