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March 10, 2013

With Immigration Reform Looming, Private Prisons Lobby to Keep Migrants Behind Bars

Undocumented workers are a cash cow for the private prison industry. Laura Carlsen: With Immigration Reform Looming, Private Prisons Lobby to Keep Migrants Behind Bars
While a broad public consensus has formed around the need to legally integrate migrants into the communities where they live and work, private prison companies Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and The GEO Group, thrive off laws that criminalize migrants, including mandatory detention and the definition of immigration violations as felonies. They are using their money and clout to assure that even if immigration reform goes through, the practice of locking people up for immigration infractions will continue. Their No. 1 goal: to assure that Operation Streamline -- their goose of the golden eggs -- survives, with more money than ever. Operation Streamline began in 2005, and it imprisons men, women and children for immigration violations, sometimes up to 10 months or more, and it channels more than $1 billion a year in federal funds to private-run detention centers. It would seem contradictory for a program that rounds up undocumented migrants to be funded alongside comprehensive immigration reform. Yet both President Obama's plan and the plan put forward by the Gang of 8 senators call to increase Border Patrol enforcement programs. Enlace, coordinator of the National Private Prison Detention Campaign, has compiled data on private prison industry money to pressure Congress for more enforcement business in any comprehensive immigration reform bill. . . .

March 09, 2013

Innocent man forgotten in solitary confinement for two years, forced to remove own rotted teeth

Well this is just awful. How A Man Charged But Not Convicted Of A DWI Spent Two Years In Solitary Confinement | ThinkProgress
A $15.5 million settlement to a man who was confined in isolation for almost two years after he was charged but not convicted of driving while intoxicated is shedding light on the horror that can befall someone incarcerated even on mere allegations of criminal activity. Stephen Slevin, arrested for a DWI and accused of driving a stolen car that he said he borrowed from a friend, was placed in solitary confinement shortly after he arrived at Dona Ana County Detention Center in New Mexico because he declined to post a $40,000 bond. After one medical examination, Slevin, who was severely depressed even before his arrest, was deemed suicidal and placed in a padded isolated cell with no natural light for 23 hours a day. Once in that cell, Slevin faced an insurmountable battle in changing his circumstance, in spite of neglect so severe that his toenails grew to curl around his foot, he pulled out his own decaying tooth and fungus grew on his face. He sent letters saying “I’m afraid to close my eyes” and “I don’t know much longer I can go on.” But the only response he received was greater sedation, his lawyer told NBC News. After two years in this circumstance, the charges against Slevin were dropped and he was released, having never been found guilty of any crime. Slevin later sued and won a $22 million jury award, an amount that was upheld by a federal judge in a decision that sums up the horror of the conditions he withstood: [The] evidence included letters written by Plaintiff seeking help, and sick call requests documenting Plaintiff’s suffering from bed sores on his thighs, fungus growing on his face, rotting teeth, pain, inability to sleep and nightmares where he could not sleep. … Medical records kept by the Detention Center similarly documented Plaintiff’s experience of pain and suffering, and the lack of treatment for his many medical and dental conditions. … Plaintiff … spent six months along in his cell with virtually no human contact before his release. . . .

March 08, 2013

Town cancels armed cops in schools after cop fires shot in hallway during classes

Luckily no one was hurt. Officer Who Fired Shot In New York High School Suspended
HIGHLAND, N.Y. (AP) — A New York town that began assigning an armed police officer to guard a high school in the wake of the Connecticut massacre has suspended the program after an officer accidentally discharged his pistol in a hallway while classes were in session. Lt. James Janso of the Lloyd police department tells media outlets Officer Sean McCutcheon will be suspended while an investigation continues. McCutcheon was assigned to the high school in the Hudson Valley town of Highland in January. Janso says the program has been suspended for now. There were no staff members or students nearby when the weapon went off just after 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. Nobody was hurt.