CoreCivic Forced Labor in Immigration Prison

samantha severyn

In a new federal class action, a privately run prison in San Diego California has been accused of forcing their inmates into labor to maintain the jail.

CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America, is accused of violating labor laws by using prisoners to “clean, maintain and operate” the prison. According to the lawsuit, “In 2016, CoreCivic reported $1.79 Billion in total revenue. In some instances, CoreCivic paid detainees $1 per day, and in other instances, detainees were not compensated with wages at all, for their labor and services,” with reports of prisoners enduring punishments if they did not complete their jobs.

The Plaintiffs, former Prisoners, seek an injunction, the difference between the fair value of their labor and what they were paid, and damages on 12 counts, including forced labor, violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, Labor Code violations, negligence, unjust enrichment and unfair competition. In addition, they seek certification of a nationwide class of immigration detainees, and two classes of California detainees, who performed unpaid labor or work for a dollar a day.

According to the complaint, “The total number of civil immigration detainees who were subjected to defendant’s forced labor and human trafficking practices, and defendant’s illegal dollar­a­day work practices is currently unknown, but these illegal practices appear endemic to the CoreCivic operations on a California­ wide, and indeed a nationwide, scale.”

Many human rights advocates say the federal government privatized its immigration prisons to shield its own abuses from scrutiny.


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