Family of Detainees, Current Inmate Speak Out Regarding Maltreatment at Big Spring Correctional Center
By Alicia Neaves NewsWest 9
BIG SPRING - Families who have loved ones locked up at the Big Spring Correctional Facility are speaking out. They claim the inmates are not getting proper medical care.
This comes on the heels of an investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union who looked into five private prisons in the state.
Texas has five private prisons, all of which detain undocumented immigrants. Two are in West Texas: Big Spring and Reeves County.
Marcy Torres's father is in the Big Spring facility. She says he needs medications daily for his liver disease.
"When he goes to the doctor [at the facility], he has to tell them what he's there for because basically they don't know. They're changing doctors so many times, they don't have the staff," Torres said.
On Tuesday, Attorney William McBride filed a lawsuit against the Willacy County Private Prison after allegations of maltreatment against the immigrants detained there. He says he plans to expand his efforts to all five private prisons in Texas.
"He's just told me that if anything happens, for me to look further into it because he's not getting the care he's supposed to," Torres said.
An inmate at the Big Spring Correctional Center claims he needs medications as well but hasn't received any since he arrived over nine months ago.
"We need to demand medicine. The flu is going around and they don't give us any medications because we have to buy them, but we can't afford them," the inmate said.
"They don't clean our underwear. We get used underwear even with blood stains on them. You can just imagine," he added.
The inmate claims the bathrooms never get fixed. He also says he knows prison food isn't supposed to be the best, but when they do eat well is when inspectors are coming.
"They tell the guards in advance when they're coming. So they get up early and fix the maintenance and fix every little detail in the prison for that day. They give us better food, they check if we're alright. They give us chicken. But after the inspection, everything goes back to barbaric conditions," the inmate said.
"The abuse from the employees is terrible. They humiliate us. They say they're gonna deport us because we don't have rights," he added.
NewsWest 9 reached out to the company who owns the Big Spring and Reeves County facilities, The GEO Group.
They said in a statement, "Our company has had a long-standing public-private partnership with the Federal government that dates back to the mid-1980s. GEO's facilities provide high quality services in safe, secure and humane residential environments, and our company strongly refutes allegations to the contrary. Our facilities adhere to strict contractual requirements and standards set by the Federal government and federal agencies employ several full-time, on-site contract monitors who have a physical presence at each of GEO's facilities. Additionally, GEO's facilities provide office space for federal personnel, immigration attorneys, immigration court judges, non-governmental organizations and other constituent groups who have access to each facility. All of GEO's facilities are audited and inspected by respective federal agencies on a routine and unannounced basis. GEO's facilities are also independently accredited by the American Correctional Association (ACA), which is widely recognized as the foremost independent detention accreditation agency in the United States. During the most recent ACA accreditation audits, the Big Spring Correctional Center and the Reeves County Detention Center received an average score in excess of 99%."