April 28, 2017
Over Fifty Detainees Continue On Hunger Strike as Public Pressure Grows Against NWDC | Up to 100 Detainees Boycott Keefe Commissary Services
Tacoma, WA – Immigrants incarcerated at the Northwest Detention Center continued their protest of poor conditions inside the Tacoma immigration prison through a third week. NWDC Resistance confirmed that at least 50 detainees are refusing to eat, and as many as 100 are extending their protest to boycotting the commissary.
As community concerns grew, GEO Group Vice President wrote an April 15th op-ed claiming that “banning a private immigration detention facility… could hurt the very residents in the care of immigration authorities.” Those on hunger strike directly contradicted GEO’s claims that the private-prison company offers “humane” services, stating, “If this is called humane treatment, well I am sorry because I call this inhumane treatment and protecting their own economic interests.” On Tuesday, April 25th, Tacoma City Council held a public hearing to discuss halting plans for the facility’s expansion. In the packed hearing, NWDC Resistance presented a petition with over 600 signatures calling on Tacoma City Council to act against deplorable health conditions at the NWDC.
Hunger strikers demand minimal living standards:
1) lower prices in commissary
2) have contact visits [rather than talking on a phone through a clear plastic wall]
3) pay more than $1 to workers [per day]
4) better food
Commissary prices rose dramatically just before the hunger strikes began, decreasing detainees’ access to food, clothes, and toiletries. As a result, almost 100 people are currently boycotting Keefe Commissary Network, the only story they can purchase from while in detention. Keefe Commissary Network is a private corporation that has sparked other lawsuits, notably one that revealed how much more people had to pay for basic goods in privately run facilities (as opposed to state-run facilities).
To learn more about the case, check out “How one inmate discovered his private prison was ripping him off — and took his warden to court” at http://fusion.net/how-one-inmate-discovered-his-private-prison-was-rippin-1793861999
For live updates on activism at the NWDC, visit:
NWDC Resistance is a volunteer community group that emerged to fight deportations in 2014 at the now-infamous Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA as part of the #Not1More campaign, and supported people detained who organized hunger strikes asking for a halt to all deportations and better treatment and conditions.