The challenges and, all too frequent, horrors of life in private prisons in the United States are well documented:
- Jonathan Mattise, Private prison firm to settle lawsuit over inmate death, San Diego Union Tribune, August 14, 2022.
- First Amendment Retaliation Against Individuals in Immigration Detention in California, California Collaboration for Immigrant Justice, Centro Legal De La Raza, ACLU-Northern California, ACLU-San Diego & Imperial Counties, ACLU-Southern California, August 26, 2021.
- Monika Y. Langarica, Bardis Vakili and Kimberly Grano, CoreCivic’s Decades of Abuse: Otay Mesa Detention Center, ACLU Foundation- San Diego and Imperial Counties, April 2021.
- Noah Lanard, It’s Still Too Painful to Put Clothes On: An ICE Detainee Reports He Was Pepper-Sprayed and Sent to Isolation, Mother Jones, March 25, 2020.
- Rebecca Plevin, Asylum-seekers allegedly pepper-sprayed at Adelanto detention center settle with GEO Group, Palm Springs Desert Sun, February 6, 2020.
- Jackie Lacey, Op-Ed: Private prisons are archaic and cruel. California needs to stop using them, Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2019.
- Timothy Williams, Inside a Private Prison: Blood, Suicide and Poorly Paid Guards, The New York Times, August 3, 2018.
- Seth Freed Wessler, ‘This Man Will Almost Certainly Die’, The Nation, January 28, 2016.
- Seth Freed Wessler, The 25 Men Whose Lives Ended Under Questionable Circumstances, The Nation, January 28, 2016.
- Seth Freed Wessler, Family Sues Private-Prison Operator Over Deaths at Immigrant-Only Facilities, The Nation, March 15, 2016.
Thus, in 2019, Californians celebrated the passage of AB 32: a bold effort to eliminate the “serious, documented harms to the safety and welfare of those detained” in private prisons within our state. But the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sitting en banc recently invalidated AB 32 finding that it violates the Supremacy Clause. Ultimately siding with private prisons, the Court held that AB 32 gives California unconstitutional control over where and how U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operates detention facilities within the state.
Unfortunately, those detained in private prisons continue to have to fight for the medical care to which they are entitled as well as the humane and dignified treatment which they deserve. The former assistant federal public defenders at McKenzie Scott PC are particularly attuned to the many injustices facing those incarcerated in private prisons in California and beyond. We have fought informally to advance the rights of those incarcerated in the for-profit prison machine. And we have litigated in state and federal court time and again against abuses by these corporations.
If you have a loved one who has died or been seriously injured while in the custody of a private prison, we are here to talk with you. We all need to work together to keep private prisons accountable. Contact us today to see if we can fight for justice on your behalf.