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USA: Judge allows lawsuit against CoreCivic over alleged forced labour in immigration detention centre to proceed

Author: Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union Tribune (USA), Published on: 21 May 2018

"Judge allows case over alleged forced labor in immigration detention to move forward", 17 May 2018

Two former immigration detainees will be allowed to bring a class action lawsuit against CoreCivic, the private prison company that owns and operates Otay Mesa Detention Center, for alleged labor violations, a federal judge ruled Monday.  The complaint alleges that CoreCivic violated federal forced labor laws by making detainees clean and maintain the facilities for no pay and threatening them with punishments like solitary confinement if they didn’t comply.  It also alleges that in paying detainees $1 per day for a variety of jobs within the facility like doing laundry, preparing meals or cutting hair in the facility’s barber shop, CoreCivic violated wage laws.  Detainees were only allowed to spend that pay at the commissary operated by CoreCivic, the complaint says.  The complaint argues that through all of this, CoreCivic was unjustly enriched off of the labor of its detainees...Amanda Sluss Gilchrist, spokeswoman for Corecivic, said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation...Judge Janis Sammartino placed a couple of limitations on the lawsuit.  The complaint said that CoreCivic’s alleged conduct has been going on since at least 2004 and suggested that date as the cut-off for defining the class involved. Sammartino said the detainees’ cut-off date for some of their claims would be 2008 because of legislative changes around that time that amended the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, a law they are using to bring the case...

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