USA: CoreCivic & Geo Group face lawsuit over using detainee labour at New Mexico immigration detention facility

Author: Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian, Published on: 26 November 2018

"Private prison companies served with lawsuits over using detainee labor", 25 Nov 2018

When a New Mexico immigration detention facility needed people to cook for inmates and clean its halls, it found a solution already inside its walls.  For $0.50 or less per hour, detainees such as Mbah Emmanuel Abi and Desmond Ndambi, who have since been granted political asylum, cooked meals for their fellow inmates and worked in the facility library...The practice has been compared to slave labor and has brought a pile of lawsuits to the doorsteps of the country’s two biggest private prison companies, CoreCivic and Geo Group...

In a recently filed class-action lawsuit, Abi, Ndambi and one other man who fled Cameroon in 2017, brought wage theft claims against CoreCivic’s Cibola county correctional center in New Mexico.  Both CoreCivic and Geo Group have said the pay is compliant with a voluntary work program mandated by the government, but attorneys said the labor is not voluntary because it is needed to pay for items such as toothpaste or to make phone calls to loved ones...The New Mexico case was filed in a federal court in Maryland last week and centers on CoreCivic’s alleged violation of minimum wage laws...

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Related companies: CoreCivic GEO Group