Human rights activists staged a protest Monday outside the gated community of the president of a private prison company, expressing their solidarity with hunger strikers currently being held in private immigration detention centers.
About a dozen protesters gathered around a fountain just outside the Royal Yacht & Country Club community, one of whose residents is George Zoley, president of GEO Group of Boca Raton.
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Staff writer Pat Beall contributed to this story.
Among the reported incidents in GEO’s immigration facilities were:
• In 2008, an undocumented immigrant died in solitary confinement after an epileptic seizure; he had been placed on a cheaper and less effective anti-seizure medicine after arriving at the GEO center in Reeves County Texas, and had been experiencing frequent seizures as a result. Inmates rioted after seeing his body removed and then rioted again a few months later, claiming substandard medical care.
• Undocumented immigrant Miroslava Rodriguez-Grava was placed in a GEO-run detention center pending deportation in 2006. She was refused psychiatric medication and soon began deteriorating mentally, at which point guards took her crutches, and had her placed naked in an isolation cell.
A year earlier, an Army veteran diagnosed with schizophrenia had been detained and not given previously prescribed medication. When his mental state deteriorated, he was moved to solitary. Both sued.
• In 2009, a GEO hiring supervisor admitted that she hired 92 guards at an immigrant detention center without background checks.