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Lawsuit against CoreCivic Condemns Forced Labor

Hutto Detention Center has been in the spotlight since three women came forward last November to report complaints of sexual assault at the hands of guards in the facility. Now, a class action lawsuit against Corecivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA) has been filed by Martha Gonzalez on behalf of detainees who have been forced to work in Laredo Detention Center and Hutto Detention Center. The lawsuit claims that the facilities have unlawfully forced detainees to work in violation of the Trafficking Victims and Protection Act.


According to the Austin American Statesman, the lawsuit states, “CoreCivic threatened detainees who refused to work with confinement, physical restraint, substantial and sustained restrictions, deprivation, violation of their liberty and solitary confinement. CoreCivic made frequent examples of individual detainees who complained or refused to work.”

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for their labor and to be paid “under the minimum wage and overtime guarantees of the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

This case is one of many that seeks to take down private prison companies for profiting off immigrant labor. Private prisons usually pay immigrants $1 per day for their work to maintain the facility, only increasing corporate profit. GEO Group currently faces two similar class action suits since the first of its kind was filed in March 2017. While GEO Group tried to dismiss the case, a federal judge ruled that Washington State can pursue its lawsuit for detainees to be paid minimum wage for their work.

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Albeit certain kinds of unpaid work may disregard the privileges of pretrial prisoners, individual lawsuits don’t seem to hinder the misuse of the state or private temporary workers. Most pretrial prisoners are in detainment since they can't manage the cost of safeguard, not to mention the lawful charges to sue the state for their work conditions.

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