Friday, August 10, 2007

"Mysterious illness" afflicting inmates at private Del Rio prison that Idaho corrections director called a "pleasant surprise"

So let's get this straight: Just a week ago the Director of the Idaho Department of Corrections visited the Geo Group private prison facility in Del Rio and pronounced it a "pleasant surprise" compared to what he'd expected. Now, we learn from the San Antonio Express News medical writer Don Finley ("Fatal Del Rio illness baffles authorities," Aug. 10) that even while he was there, officials already knew about:
A mysterious illness at a Del Rio detention center that has killed two inmates and hospitalized two others within the past month has baffled health authorities, who have asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for help.

All four men — three of them foreign nationals from Honduras and Mexico held on immigration charges, the fourth a Val Verde county prisoner who was one of the dead — were described as in their 20s and 30s, and apparently healthy when they arrived at the Val Verde Correctional Facility and County Jail.

Huh ... do you suppose the Geo Group failed to mention that tidbit when the Idaho Corrections Chief visited? Or was that just part of the "pleasant surprise"? Here's something else I'll bet the Idaho Corrections director didn't advertise much when he went back home:
In March, Val Verde County and the Geo Group settled a lawsuit with the family of LeTisha Tapia, a 23-year-old federal inmate found hanged in her cell after reporting she'd been sexually assaulted in 2004. Last week, the Associated Press reported that under the terms of that settlement, the county had hired an independent monitor for the prison.
I've gotta tell you, none of that sounds so pleasant to me. In fact, it sounds like the facility has experienced serious, recent problems and is only beginning to address them, and then only when they were forced to through a court settlement.

See more from Texas Prison Bidness and these prior, related Grits posts:


Anonymous said...

Historically private prisons and detention centers have been a disgrace. The abuses that were cited on Wackenhut several years ago were only the tip of the iceberg.

Every Private corrections firm has been plagued with some sort of scandal or coverup.

It is time that we put our offenders back to work, and put the private corrections company out of this state forever and for good.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Wackenhut is now Geo, btw, they're the same company.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at what they can get away w i am the sister of Letisha Tapia and none of what they said is true she was very abused and no she did not kill herself they killed her and for the guards and warrden maybe they should be put through what she had to suffer and see if they dont chemge their way of thinking thats if they make it alive!!!!!!