News

April 18, 2018

Firm Files Class-Action Claim against Private Prison Company

Burns Charest is serving as co-counsel in a class-action lawsuit filed against CoreCivic, Inc., a private prison company. The lawsuit alleges that the company is forcing detained immigrants at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia to work for as little as $1 a day to clean, cook, and maintain the center in a scheme to maximize profits.  CoreCivic is operating under contract with Stewart County (Ga.) to house individuals detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“CoreCivic illegally enriches itself on the backs of a captive workforce to bolster their profits,” said Korey Nelson, partner at Burns Charest.

Detained immigrants who refuse to work are threatened with solitary confinement and the loss of access to basic necessities, like food, clothing, personal hygiene products and phone calls to loved ones in violation of federal anti-trafficking laws, according to the lawsuit filed by Burns Charest, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Law Office of R. Andrew Free, and Project South. Similar lawsuits have been filed in California, Washington, Colorado and Texas challenging private prison companies’ work practices.

The “Dollar-a-Day” program allegedly creates a lucrative profit scenario for CoreCivic, with detainees forced to purchase basic necessities from CoreCivic’s commissary, and the primary way to fund their purchases is to participate in the facility’s work program. These jobs include providing basic functions at the facility such as cooking and cleaning, work for which CoreCivic would otherwise have to hire and pay outside employees.

More news coverage of the litigation can be found here.