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End human rights abuses and restore dignity in Reeves County

In the United States of America, we expect that actions carried out by our government in our name to be done in a manner that reflects our values, including respect for basic human dignity and the rule of law. Our organizations have come together in an effort to restore American values to our federal prison and detention systems, and to the communities where those prisons are located.

Grassroots Leadership, the ACLU of Texas, Southwest Worker's Union, and the National Network for Immigrant Refugee Rights stand together to denounce the serious and widespread human rights abuses exacerbated by the abhorrent conditions at the Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos, Texas. At least nine deaths in the last four years have been reported at the facility, and countless prisoners live daily with fear for their lives. Reeves is a county-owned facility run under contract with the GEO Group and overseen by the Bureau of Prisons. We believe that Texas communities deserve sustainable jobs with dignity, not more prisons. Reeves is part of a massive expansion of the federal detention system that divides and marginalizes communities while draining resources for real economic alternatives or educational programs.

Those held at Reeves are federal prisoners segregated because of their immigration status. Many, including several who have died at the prison, have served long sentences only for immigration-related violations as a result of the 1996 laws that broadly expanded the definition of ‘aggravated felony’. Since then, persons charged with “illegal re-entry” are the among fastest growing groups in the federal prison population. We believe in the need to end policies and practices of selective enforcement programs that separate families and perpetuate the criminalization and demonization of immigrants.

Furthermore, we urge the Obama Administration and the Department of Justice, which oversees the federal prison system, to end the BOP contract with the controversial GEO Group, investigate the abuses at Reeves, and ensure humane and adequate conditions for all inmates.

1. The Reeves County Detention Center is a private prison holding prisoners segregated because they are immigrants.

2. At least nine deaths in the last four years have been reported at the facility.

3. We urge the Department of Justice to end the BOP contract with the controversial GEO Group and investigate the abuses at Reeves.