By Aleita Hass-Holcombe, First Congregational UCC, Corvallis, OR
Did you know that not far from here is one of the country’s largest for-profit detention centers in the country? Tacoma, Washington is the home of Northwest Detention Center, operated by the GEO Corporation.1
On March 7, 1200 people held at the center began a hunger strike and work stoppage. The hunger strikers join a nation-wide movement of resistance against unprecedented levels of detention and deportation. During President Obama’s administration nearly 2,000,000 people have been deported. To learn more about actions against deportations see the #Not 1 More Deportation web site.
The situation in Tacoma is only the tip of the iceberg. What underlies this situation requires a look at the bigger picture of the for-profit prison system in America. Profits of for-profit prisons are up by 500% from 20 years ago.2 $45 million on campaign donations and lobbyists have encouraged politicians to support the for-profit system. Unknown to most Americans, some states sign agreements to guarantee they will fill a certain number of beds in these jails at any given point? The most common rate is 90%.2