U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General Report Condemns GEO Operated Reeves County Detention Center

Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General released a report chronicling a number of egregious practices taking place at the one of the world’s largest for-profit prisons. Reeves C

ounty Detention Center in Pecos, TX holds approximately 4,000 prisoners and his a history riddled with controversy. This recent federal audit found a number of issues including problems with staffing, financial mismanagement, and unnecessary and abusive use of solitary confinement.  

In December of 2009, Reeves County Detention Center was in the news after two prisoners in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) initiated a large scale prison uprising. An investigation found that this uprising was not initiated by internal tensions amongst those incarcerated in the unit but instead as a means to express a number of grievances with the facility’s operating company GEO Group. In particular, the men cited inadequate medical care and a number of deaths including the death of Jesus Manuel Galindo, an epileptic, who died the day of the uprising while in the SHU. Two months later prisoners initiated another uprising.

This type of revolt is not new. In fact, another recent uprising occurred in a Willacy County Facility in February. So, what do Willacy and Reeves County have in common? Both are “Criminal Alien Requirement” or CAR facilities. These types of facilities are privately-operated prisons within the BOP where immigrants convicted of crimes are sent. Consequently, these facilities are also known for their substandard conditions.

The audit released by the OIG now validates the concerns expressed during the uprising years ago. In addition to GEO Group, Correct Care Solutions (CCS) is another group implicated in the audit for providing inadequate medical care in the facility. This of course comes to no surprise given the spotted history of CCS, now Correct Care Recovery Solutions. Interestingly, this private medical provider was originally known as GEO Care, a spin-off and former subsidiary of GEO Group, and has recently been in the news for a number of scandals. In Texas, these scandals have included GEO Care/Correct Care Recovery Solutions’s attempts to operate both the Kerrville State Hospital in 2012 and Terrell State Hospital last year. The process for Terrell also resulted in a scathing and controversial audit by the Texas State Auditor’s office.

Central to the release of the OIG’s audit is the fact that it validates the various claims over the years about the inhumane and abusive conditions that run rampant in privately operated detention centers around the country. Many groups are speaking out against these conditions. To learn more check out the recent hunger strike at Karnes and the upcoming protests in Dilley, TX and around the country.