Civil rights groups calls upon Attorney General Holder and
GEO Group to address detainee concerns
Houston, TX– The Texas Civil Rights Project–Houston (TCRP) is concerned about the basic living conditions within the Joe Corley Detention Center in Conroe, TX amidst reports that detainees are engaged in a hunger strike to protest subpar treatment. The hunger strike in Conroe marks the expansion of a multi-state effort by detainees to have their needs addressed. A similar hunger strike at the Tacoma Detention Center in Washington has now reached its twelfth day. The Geo Group, Inc., a publicly traded for-profit corporation, operates both the Tacoma and Conroe facilities.
TCRP Regional Director Amin Alehashem is concerned by the most recent developments, including threats of force-feeding and the placement of detainees in solitary confinement in Tacoma. “It’s clear that the detainees at both facilities are experiencing the same difficulties,” Alehashem said, referring to the detainees’ complaints about treatment, overcrowded cells, and lack of nutrition and medical care.
In response to the conditions, TCRP has sent a letter to Attorney General Holder, GEO Group, and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson urging them to appoint a mediator to intervene in the matter.
“Nobody should have to resort to a hunger strike to resolve matters about basic living conditions,” Alehashem said. “Force-feeding is not only unconstitutional, degrading, and dangerous, it also does nothing to solve the underlying problem. It just makes it worse. The government and the facility operators need to appoint a mediator and establish a dialogue with the detainees to effectively handle this matter, without using unconstitutional practices” Alehashem said.