In March 2009, Roberto Martinez-Medina was detained and arrested for not having a driver’s license or proof of legal status. Immediately after his arrest, Medina was sent to CCA’s (Corrections Corporation of America) Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. Less than a month later Roberto Martinez-Medina was dead.
During his detainment at Stewart Detention Center–the largest private prison in the country–Medina complained of a pre-existing heart ailment, but was denied medical care over several shifts. There is no medical service available at the detention center, and the nearest hospital is at least an hour away. The main reason for this lack of basic care: CCA had cut medical care costs and other basic needs to increase their quarterly and yearly profit.
Bryan Holcomb, an ex-CCA quality assurance manager, spoke exclusively to Cuéntame’s “Immigrant For Sale” producers to expose the negligent operations at Stewart Detention Center. Holcomb assures that this malpractice is common at the facility due to ongoing cuts to basic services. From contaminated drinking water, to chemical agents being used to quell detainee complaints, Holcomb says CCA has gone to great lengths to cover up its insufficient care and mistreatment of detainees.
Cuéntame’s latest exposé highlights precisely what is wrong with America’s penitentiary system and immigrant detention centers. The continued persecution of undocumented immigrants has created a multi-billion dollar operation–private prisons with a single profit motive: the incarceration of immigrants.
States send your tax dollars to these corporations–approximately $200 a night per detained immigrant. Yet, the funding is not ensuring basic necessities for migrants waiting for their legal status to be resolved. Instead, your money is lining the pockets of CEOs and fat cats who view our immigration system as one big ATM machine. It is no surprise that these same individuals and companies have successfully lobbied for the passage of harsh anti-immigration laws across the country.
In fact, Georgia–the home of the nation’s largest private prison–just passed HB87, a de facto criminalization of immigration. Gov. Nathan Deal, who advocated and signed the bill, received thousands in campaign contributions from CCA during the last election cycle. Undocumented or not, if migrants can’t prove their legal status they’ll be shipped off and face harsh, life-threatening conditions, all while private prison CEOs rake in the cash.
CCA profited off of Medina’s incarceration, and ensured an even greater profit by denying him critical health care. The inhumane conditions at CCA facilities are directly related to their obsession in cutting costs for profit.
Cuéntame is demanding an investigation into Medina’s case. So far, all parties involved have ignored and even covered-up elements of the case. You can demand an investigation at immigrantsforsale.org.
Private prisons across the country are making a killing, and you are paying for it.