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Another Death at GEO Group's Reeves County Detention Center

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The GEO Group's Reeves County Detention Center was home to another prisoner death.  According to a story on KRGV ("Valley family speaks out about relative's death in Pecos prison," March 20), Jose Manuel Falcon died while in custody at Reeves earlier this month.

A Rio Grande Valley family continues to search for justice after their nephew died while serving time in a private West Texas prison.

Jose Manuel Falcon was two months shy of his release from the Pecos prison when he died. The 32-year-old died Thursday, March 12, at the Reeve County Detention Center.

Falcon spent five years there. Family members called it a harsh sentence for being caught illegally in the U.S. without papers.

A GEO Group statement has confirmed Falcon's death, and claimed that he died of suicide, though the Texas Rangers have not reached a conclusion, according to KRGV ("Pecos Prison Death," March 20),

A spokesman for the GEO Group, a private prison company that runs the Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos released a statement to NEWSCHANNEL 5.

The statement reads: On March 5, 2009, at approximately 6:40PM, inmate Jose Manuel Falcon took his life by self inflicting numerous lacerations with a disposable razor blade. At the time of the incident the inmate was in a single cell and there is no evidence of foul play. In accordance with state law, the custodial death of inmate falcon was investigated by the Texas Rangers and it has been determined through the investigation that the death was suicide.

A Texas Rangers spokesperson tells NEWSCHANNEL 5 they still consider Falcon's death an open case.

Falcon's family was not convinced, saying that they believe that he was murdered in the facility.  Attorney Juan Angel Guerra, who is representing many of the detainees at Reeves agrees, according to a report at KRGV ("Family Says Son Murdered In Prison," March 19th).  

Thirty-two-year-old Jose Manuel Falcon died last Thursday at the Reeve County Detention Center in Pecos. The prison promises a report on the official cause of death by this Thursday. His mother and Attorney Juan Guerra say they're positive he was murdered behind bars.

Santos Aguallo says the prison officials told the family he committed suicide. But she says it doesn't make sense, since he was just two months away from being released.  Attorney Juan Guerra was outside the prison in Pecos protesting what he calls dangerous conditions at the privately-run facility at the time of the death. He says from what he saw, Jose Manuel Falcon died a violent death.

"It's very obvious he has defensive wounds. As a prosecutor, you look at his hands and he has, where he was defending himself, so this was not a suicide. This was a murder. Someone killed him inside," Guerra claims. 

Whether Falcon died of suicide or a murder, it is not a good sign for the troubled facility.  A protest of family members is being planned for this Saturday, March 28th, at 10am in front of the prison.  In addition, see Grassroots Leadership and the Texas Jail Project's press release with recommendations that include:

  1. An investigation into conditions at the facility by the U.S. Department of Justice;
  2. Allowing the Texas Commission on Jail Standards to inspect the facility;
  3. Transparency and accountability during the investigation process;
  4. Visitation access for attorneys, family members of prisoners, and human rights organizations

We'll keep you posted on developments from Reeves County.  In the meantime, see our previous coverage of the facility:

GEO Riots Could Cost Reeves County More than $1 Million, February 27, 2009

Family Members Protest GEO Group in Reeves County, February 14, 2009

Reeves County Denies Access to GEO Prison to Attorney Juan Guerra, February 12, 2009

Reeves County Detention Center on Fire Again, February 6, 2009

Second Riot in Two Months Leaves Injuries, Significant Damage, February 4, 2008

Riots and Mysterious Deaths at GEO's Reeves County facility, December 22, 2008



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I husband was picked up on a warrant that he had no knowledge of in Colorado. Sat in a Colordo jail for two weeks without knowledge on what he was there for then was extrodited to Texas and after another week still has seen nothing. He is severally diabetic and the jail has refused to give him the proper medication. His last 12 glucose readings were over 500 & 600 when it should be under 150 and still no insulin. They are going to kill him, before he knows the fact of his charges, if they don't do something now. His bond is set for $50,000 on a $9,000 charge? Does someone one know of something that will help me? I have tried talking to the jail with very little response. I have given everything that I have to an attorney to get his bond lower but have no idea how I will find the money to bond him out (I was laid off 6 months ago and I am trying to start my own business) and he can sit there over 3 months before they decide if they are going to indite him. Where do I go for help on this?