Letter to the Editor: Claudia Riedener | Tacoma Weekly
When an elected official recently tried to visit the detainees, GEO Group said a chicken pox outbreak had occurred and he was not allowed in for health concerns. Company guards later privately stated that there was no such outbreak.
All this is happening to people who are forced to work for a dollar or less a day. These violations are ongoing despite a City of Tacoma minimum wage ordinance. Fortunately, State Attorney General Ferguson is suing the very profitable GEO Group over labor law violations.
Let’s remember that the majority of people held there have no criminal records; some of them have had their children stolen and many are detained despite their legal right to seek asylum.
The Tacoma detention center has been reported to have high rates of sexual violence, beatings and abuse. Due to the horrid conditions, detainees have engaged in more than a dozen hunger strikes. One is happening right now. People on hunger strike are often punished with solitary confinement. The private, lucrative, for-profit GEO center is located on a toxic site with air pollution in a port not zoned for human habitation. And just recently West Nile virus was found very near the facility in the port.