Filed under: Action, Immigration, Incarceration, Southeast
Report back from action in Boca Raton, Florida, in response to the continued deaths of detainees in ICE prisons.
BOCA RATON, FL. – Activists placed body bags outside GEO Group’s Boca Raton office Friday morning to protest the abuse and deaths in the company’s detention centers. The 14 body bags were toe-tagged with the names of people who have most recently died in ICE custody:
Oscar Lopez Acosta, May 13th, 2020
Carlos Ernesto Escobar-Mejia, May 6th, 2020
Ramiro Hernandez-Ibarra, March 21st, 2020
Unnamed 27-year old Honduran man, March 19th, 2020
Maria Celeste Ochoa Yoc de Ramirez, March 8th, 2020
David Hernandez Colula, February 21st, 2020
Ben James Owen, January 25th, 2020
Unnamed 63 year-old Cuban man, January 27th, 2020
Samuelino Pitchout Mavinga, January 1st, 2020
Anthony Oluseye Akinyemi, December 23rd, 2019
Roylan Hernandez-Diaz, October 16th, 2019
Nebane Abienwi, October 2nd, 2019
Roberto Rodriguez-Espinoza, September 12th, 2019
Pedro Arriago-Santoya, July 25th, 2019
The body bags were accompanied by a large painted sign reading “GEO KILLS.” The body bags placed outside of GEO’s corporate office serve as a grisly reminder of the company’s role in the ever-growing body count inside America’s jails, prisons, and detention centers.
“These body bags are supposed to shock you. If you find them disturbing or offensive, you should investigate the real-life horrors happening in GEO prisons and facilities,” stated one activist.
Activists placed body bags outside GEO Group’s Boca Raton office Friday morning to protest the abuse and deaths in the company’s detention centers. The 14 body bags were toe-tagged with the names of people who have most recently died in ICE custody. pic.twitter.com/mCBCPhJARp
— Florida Prisoner Solidarity (@FL_Abolition) May 15, 2020
GEO Group is the second-largest operator of private prisons in the United States. GEO runs a number of ICE Detention Centers throughout Florida and the United States. The company’s Boca Raton headquarters has been the site of large and small-scale protests over the past decade, as outrage grows over GEO’s history of human rights violations, and rampant abuse within their facilities.
On April 20th, US District Judge Jesus Bernal stated that ICE had exhibited “callous indifference” to the safety and well-being of people in their custody and ordered ICE to reduce it’s detention center populations. On April 30th, US District Judge Marcia G. Cooke ordered ICE to release people from three South Florida detention centers, citing conditions that amount to “cruel and unusual punishment.” ICE has so far ignored the court orders to release people from crowded, unsanitary conditions and reduce population nationally.
ICE detention centers, including GEO-run Broward Transitional Center (BTC) in Pompano Beach, make as much as $200 per day, per person in detention, incentivising them to continue to hold people against the orders of healthcare professionals. So far two individuals detained at BTC have tested positive for COVID-19.
GEO’s detention centers are a coronavirus timebomb. Their business model has remained unchanged, earning money for each incarcerated person in their facilities. Activists demand that GEO stop profiting off the caging of human beings and release people to their families as the best public health policy and because it is the morally right thing to do.
Names of those who have died in GEO facilities: https://www.aila.org/infonet/deaths-at-adult-detention-centers