April 6, 2020

Burns Charest Pursues a Court Order to Provide Immediate Protection Against COVID-19 for Detained Immigrants

Today Burns Charest, along with co-counsel, filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against the private prison facility GEO Group for failing to provide detained immigrants with basic hygiene necessities for protection against the COVID-19 virus. Detainees, who are already forced to clean the communal areas of GEO’s facilities without compensation, have not been provided with soap, sanitizer, or personal protective equipment, which puts them in heightened danger of exposure to the virus. In addition to not providing these safety precautions, the detainees who refuse to work under these potentially dangerous conditions could be placed  in solitary confinement under the program’s current guidelines.

On behalf of the class, Burns Charest’s motion requests a Temporary Restraining Order requiring that GEO Group stop using forced detainee labor for cleaning assignments in the common areas of GEO facilities or, alternatively, provide the workers with the proper cleaning products and protective gear, while also conducting testing for COVID-19 exposure.

“The court certified a nationwide class to put an end to the illegal use of unpaid, forced labor that drives GEO’s profits. Now with the spread of COVID-19, GEO’s unlawful practices could turn deadly. This has to stop now.” – Daniel Charest, Partner

To view motion click HERE.

The case is Novoa, et al. v. The GEO Group, Inc., Case No. 5:17-cv-02514 (C.D. Cal.).