Mr Mark Emkes, Ms Donna Alvarez, Mr Damon Hininger and all,
As I am sure you are aware, seventy detainees at the La Palma facility have signed a letter detailing specific complaints, including exposure to COVID19, coercion to work in unsafe conditions, unsanitary conditions, spoiled food, prolonged detentions and other abuses. (see letter)
We have been able to corroborate this information independently at both La Palma and Eloy facilities, and that it had not been improved as of the time of corroboration. Detainees speak of being locked up all day between early afternoon and noon the next day, being given nothing but bread or rotten sandwiches and fruit, having fecal material flowing into the cells, eating in dirty cells. They cannot get medical care if they do not have covid symptoms. They may have toothbrush or may not.
What is being done to provide safe and sanitary conditions for detainees? How is it verified? Who can detainees call?
How are you verifying that changes have been made so that detainees are treated with respect, that the letter writers are not retaliated against, that the food is not spoiled and that the conditions are clean?
What have you done to ensure that guards do not move from one tank to another using the same protective gear?
What is being done to expedite release for individuals who are simply seeking asylum?
As CoreCivic makes a direct profit off of this facility (for a total reported profit of 557M in 2019), board members and stockholders would appear to be directly responsible for ensuring that detainees have safe and sanitary conditions and are treated humanely and with dignity. It would appear to be the personal responsibility of board members to follow through and ensure these changes are made.
As a reporter for Raise the Voices, this conversation should be a public one; this letter and any response to it will be posted publicly to our site. In particular, please include how you are verifying the changes and how you are measuring them – is there a hotline for detainees to report abuses? Do you have 3rd party audits? How can a concerned party verify that changes have been made?
Publication deadline: Mon July 13. (open letter may be posted previous to this date)
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I look forward to your response,
Reporter, Raise the Voices / RaiseTheVoices.org