Updated and corrected, 4:01 p.m. 10/2/19
The North Lake Correctional Facility is set to become Michigan’s first and only private, for-profit immigrant prison when it opens Tuesday morning. Immigration activists around the state are keen on not letting that happen.*
Formerly known as the Michigan Youth Correctional Facility, the GEO Group-owned prison had previously been shut down and reopened several times since it was built in 1999, most recently shuttering in 2017. GEO Group announced a new 10-year contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons earlier this year, skirting around a deal that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer already blocked.
Occupy ICE Detroit and the Lake County Democratic Party (LCDP) are both spearheading protests tomorrow in an effort to shut down the prison before it can open. The LCDP says they are expecting anywhere from 120 to 200 people to show up to their protest alone.*
The prison is set to house an all-male population of up to 1,800 non-U.S. citizens serving federal sentences for low-level criminal offenses, i.e. nonviolent drug offenses and re-entry to the country after deportation.*
According to the Detroit News, all inmates will face deportation after finishing their sentences.
GEO Group, which is headquartered in Florida, has shelled out millions of dollars for lawsuits and company violations at their private prisons around the country. Most claims of misconduct the company faces involve alleged human rights violations, unlawful conditions and wrongful death suits.
Jessica Prozinski, organizer with Occupy ICE Detroit, said in a statement that the activist group intends to shut down GEO Group’s immigrant facility, just as it has successfully shut down the Detroit ICE field office three times.*
“Without private detention facilities — and GEO Group is one of the biggest — the [President] Trump Administration would not be able to carry out its inhumane immigration policies,” Prozinski said.
“It’s the height of immorality to be making a profit from Trump’s immigrant concentration camps. We all know by now what goes on inside these camps — child abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, and torture. We will do everything in our power to stop these camps from spreading into Michigan,” she said.
* This story has been updated to reflect that the North Lake Correctional Facility is a prison.