Private prisons – involved in the incarceration of human beings for profits – shouldn’t exist, which is notably shown by this expose that I often recommend when discussing this issue. Solitary confinement is torture and probably shouldn’t be allowed to be used in prisons either, but it could at least be much more limited than it is now.
In recent years, current and former ICE detainees have filed class-action lawsuits alleging forced labor against private prison contractors in Washington state, California, and Colorado. Across the country, detainees and advocates have said that the ICE contractors used solitary confinement as a cudgel to force work, and allege that the for-profit facility operators are profiting off the bonded labor.
“These big corporations are circumventing the traditional labor market,” said Lydia Wright, an attorney at the Burns Charest law firm who represents current and former ICE detainees suing CoreCivic in California. “If they weren’t requiring detainees to work for $1 per day, they would have to hire cooks and janitors at minimum wage.”
One obstacle such suits against ICE’s private contractors may face: Many of the immigrant plaintiffs are only fleetingly in the country before often being deported, making it potentially difficult, for instance, to find former detainees who may be entitled to back wages.
This news comes as ICE conducted raids on nearly 100 7-Elevens recently. The inhumanity of the deportation forces should be a bigger story than it currently is.