by Tina Vasquez, Rewire.News, March 13, 2019
This is the second article in a two-part series. Read the first article in the series here.
Trying to understand the systems in place intended to protect immigrants in federal custody from sexual abuse is like navigating a maze, and Laura Monterrosa’s story is one example of how complicated it can get.
Rewire.News partnered with Latino USA on this two-part investigation of her abuse allegations at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas. In part one, we looked into Monterrosa’s story and the federal investigation into her claims of repeated sexual abuse by a female guard at Hutto in 2017. For part two, we examine the nuts and bolts of a Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) audit and how the process can fail survivors of sexual assault.
As we noted in part one, PREA is one of the main mechanisms for justice for immigrants in custody if they are sexually abused. Under PREA, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigate the allegations in the short term, and auditors hired by ICE review each facility’s handling of allegations every three years.
What we learned about this process ...
by Tina Vasquez, Rewire.News, March 8, 2019
Over a ten-month period, Rewire.News partnered with Latino USA to dig into the case of one woman’s alleged sexual abuse. What we learned through a FOIA request raised questions about internal investigations at immigration facilities and the safety of thousands of detained immigrants.
This is the first article in a two-part series. Read the second article in the series here.
Content note: This piece contains detailed descriptions of sexual assault.
On May 3, 2017, Laura Monterrosa fled El Salvador for the United States because she heard that she could find protection and safety here. Once in the custody of U.S. immigration officials, she said another “nightmare” began; while at the T. Don Hutto detention center, she alleges, she was repeatedly sexually abused by a female guard.
Monterossa, 24, said through a translator that when she threatened to report the incident, the guard told her that the staff would never believe her. “I was scared because I thought that she was gonna deport me—that they could send me to another detention center and deport me.”
In the United States, there are two primary apparatuses intended to protect detained immigrants from ...
Private prison medical care provider Corizon Health has received an injection of capital from shareholder BlueMountain Capital Management, a global hedge fund.
The infusion of cash allowed Corizon to pay down its debt and “accelerate business development and investment opportunities.” In other words, the company plans to obtain more contracts to provide medical services at prisons and jails. Corizon reportedly operates in 21 states and is responsible for the care of prisoners at 273 facilities.
BlueMountain manages more than $21 billion. As a result of an initial recapitalization led by the hedge fund in April 2017, Corizon “significantly reduced” its $300 million debt load. While details of the deal were not fully disclosed at the time, the investment reduced the stake of former main Corizon shareholder Beecken Petty O’Keefe & Company.
Then, in November 2018, BlueMountain invested another $100 million in Corizon in a debt-for-equity deal, lowering its debt to $90 million. Corizon has been investing in electronic health records, telemedicine, data analytics and other services. It has submitted bids in several states to privatize or take over currently privatized prison medical services, though it has faced numerous lawsuits as well as fines for contract violations, and recently ...
by Steve Horn
Located in heartland America in an area historically dominated by the oil and gas industry, the small town of Sayre, Oklahoma recently found itself in the middle of a lawsuit against private prison operator CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America. And the township prevailed, obtaining ...
by Ed Lyon
For aficionados of “U.S. Marshals” and “The Fugitive,” movies staring Tommy Lee Jones, it may come as a shock that art comes nowhere near to a true imitation of life. That was painfully evident in a 20-page memorandum released by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on December 21, 2018 – just in time to ensure a not-very-merry Christmas for many senior staff in the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) and the agency’s former director, Stacia A. Hylton.
A three-year-long investigation by the Judiciary Committee, guided by whistleblowers within the USMS who were vigorously pursued and subjected to retaliation, revealed a culture of misconduct, waste, sexual harassment, favoritism and total unconcern for the safety of deputies involved in high-risk law enforcement operations, according to a comprehensive 430-page report issued by the Committee in January 2019.
The memo and subsequent report found that Director Hylton had Deputy Assistant Director Kimberly Beal hire a friend of Hylton’s in the Asset Forfeiture Division (AFD). When her friend failed to qualify for that position, Beal created one for him. Beal, in turn, was promoted to a full assistant directorship, but only after having a subordinate prepare her Executive ...
by Derek Gilna
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has remanded a prisoner’s lawsuit against Wexford Health Sources, Inc., the healthcare provider for Illinois’ Department of Corrections, for either a reduced punitive damages award or a new trial on the issue of damages.
After experiencing ankle pain in 2010, prisoner Donald E. Beard, Jr. filed suit claiming that he was denied proper treatment from Wexford and its staff.
Beard’s pro se complaint alleged “that members of the prison’s medical staff and administrative team were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical need in violation of the Eighth Amendment (applied to the states through the Fourteenth), and he sought damages plus injunctive relief. The district court recruited counsel, who added Wexford as a defendant and stipulated to the dismissal of the individual defendants.”
The case went to trial and the jury awarded Beard $10,000 in compensatory damages plus $500,000 in punitive damages. However, the district court reduced the punitive award to $50,000, finding it was excessive and arbitrary, contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment. Beard appealed.
Although the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that “few awards exceeding a single-digit ratio between punitive and compensatory damages ...
by Mark Wilson
On June 8, 2018, an Oregon fed-eral district court denied a summary judgment motion filed by jail officials, concluding that a reasonable jury could find a psychotic detainee’s 16-day confinement without treatment constituted deliberate indifference to his serious medical condition.
The Lane County Sheriff’s ...
by Matt Clarke
Using a type of contract known as an Intergovernmental Service Agreement (ISA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has partnered with local governments to place immigrant detainees in unused jail beds or detention centers built specifically for that purpose, creating a network of facilities that are often run by private prison companies. [See: PLN, June 2018, p.44]. However, the legal liability and public criticism faced by counties and cities that participate in such arrangements has some of them saying “no” to ICE.
The small, farming-centered town of Eloy, Arizona hosts a 1,550-bed ICE detention center run by private prison operator CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Opened in 1994, it is one of four facilities the company manages in or near Eloy. In the summer of 2018, about 300 immigrant women were detained there after being separated from their children by ICE.
Now those women will be sent over 900 miles away to Dilley, Texas, where ICE and CoreCivic run a facility that can house up to 2,400 immigrant detainees. The South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC), the largest immigration detention center in the U.S., opened in 2014 in a ...
by Matt Clarke
Recently discovered evidence in a Thomson Reuters database revealed that, in June 2018, JP Morgan Chase Bank (JPMC) underwrote a $159.5 million bond to finance private prison operator CoreCivic’s construction of a 2,432-bed facility in Kansas. JPMC was already the largest debt holder for private prison firms CoreCivic and GEO Group.
Make the Road New York, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of immigrants and working-class Americans, teamed up with Educators for Migrant Justice and two other organizations to establish a campaign that publicizes businesses it labels “Corporate Backers of Hate.” The group discovered the Kansas prison bond details in the Reuters database, which were confirmed by Bloomberg Business News.
The Kansas bond was issued via an unusual financing method known as “private placement,” which allowed JPMC to keep the names of the investors and financial partners secret. As the Sole Placement Agent for the bond, the bank marketed it to a group of potential investors without the need for a rating or prospectus – typical requirements for a public bond offering.
The prison construction project also represented a departure from the way CoreCivic usually does business – either ...
by Douglas Ankney
A United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio denied motions for summary judgment filed by private healthcare provider NaphCare Inc. (NaphCare) and its employee Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Jack Saunders in a suit alleging they failed to treat a jail prisoner’s fractured pelvis.
Jeffrey Day was a passenger in a car November 26, 2015, which was involved in a collision in Trotwood, Ohio. As a result of the collision, Day suffered a fractured right acetabulum — the part of the pelvis that forms the socket of his hip. Day, who was intoxicated, was arrested on a charge of Obstructing Official Business because he provided false information about the accident.
At the scene of the accident, Day signed a waiver, refusing medical treatment. But upon his arrival at the Montgomery County Jail (MCJ), he was unable to walk into the booking area without assistance. Video showed Day could not stand on his right leg, and he was in pain. He was placed in a wheelchair.
According to a deposition from Saunders, during Day’s medical intake assessment Day told Saunders about the vehicle accident. Day told Saunders he felt like he had broken something in his ...