Demonstrators visually and vocally presented the suppressed demands of immigrant detainees on hunger striker to George Zoley, CEO of for-profit prison giant GEO Group. Zoley resides in a wealthy gated community in Boca Raton, Florida, just miles away from the company headquarters.
“We are here in front of George Zoley’s neighborhood to bring the demand of the immigrant detention center hunger strikers to him at his home and know that he cannot ignore them any longer,” said protestor Britni Hiatt.
Over the past two weeks hunger strikes have taken place at two different immigrant detention facilities owned and operated by the GEO Group, one in Tacoma, Washington and one in Conroe, Texas. The hunger strike began in Washington with 750 detainees refusing food and work, and spread to 120 detainees in Texas. Demands of the hunger strikers include: an immediate halt to all deportations, just treatment for detainees, an end to crowding in cells, an end to double judgment policies, adequate food and medical care, affordable calling prices and lower rates at commissary.
GEO Group has responded to both strikes by revoking the rights of detainees, threatening to force-feed strikers, putting strikers in solitary confinement, threatening their immigration status and cutting off communication with the outside world.
“The whistle has been blown,” says Cici Claar, “It’s time for GEO to address these offenses and stop engaging in retaliation and suppression.”