This week a federal court in Colorado allowed a class of immigrant detainees to jointly proceed with forced labor claims against the country’s second-largest private prison provider.
The court certified a class of between 50,000 and 60,000 current and former immigrant detainees held at GEO’s Aurora, Colorado detention facility since 2004. These individuals, some of whom were found to legally reside in this country after months in detention, allege that they were forced to clean the detention center without pay and under threat of solitary confinement. This practice allowed GEO to reduce labor costs at the Aurora facility, where it employs just one custodian to maintain a detention center that houses up to 1,500 people at a time.
Nina DiSalvo, Executive Director of Towards Justice, the nonprofit legal group helping to represent the immigrant detainees tells KGNU’s Julia Caulfield that the ruling allows vulnerable detainees to band together and hold GEO accountable for profiteering on the backs of its captive labor force.