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Strike Averted at GEO's South Texas Detention Center in Pearsall

A strike at GEO Group's Pearsall immigrant detention center was narrowly averted this week after close vote of union members, according to an article from KRIS TV ("Strike averted at South Texas detention center," February 11),

Guards at one of the nation's largest immigrant detention facilities have approved a new labor contract rather than strike.

Union workers at the South Texas Detention Facility in Pearsall ratified the new deal late Wednesday that union leaders say promises improved equipment and increases the likelihood of wage increases. Chief union negotiator Howard Johannssen said the new three-year contract passed by a slight margin but declined to release the vote.

Negotiations with The GEO Group Inc. had been ongoing for months. Guards threatened to walk off the job unless a deal was reached this week, and brought about 100 picketing signs to the negotiating table.

About 1,400 detainees are being held at the South Texas facility because of their immigration status, and more than 300 workers there are union members.  A strike would have been the latest problem in Texas for GEO, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based private contractor disrupted by two recent inmate riots at a West Texas federal prison.

GEO's Reeves County Detention Center on Fire Again

The GEO Group's Reeves County Detention Center caught on fire again earlier today, according to a story on KWES ("Fire out at Reeves County Detention Center," February 5).  

A fire that erupted at the Reeves County Detention Center is out, but still smoldering.

The fire started Thursday morning in a recreational facility at RCDC. It is believed the recreation facility is part of building II. NewsWest9's Victor Lopez reports that the fire is out and fire crews were still on the scene. Some smaller fires started in a yard at the prison were also out.

Prisoners started rioting at the facility this past weekend. Inmates and family members of inmates have told NewsWest9 they are demanding better healthcare. At that time, three inmates were hurt, but those injuries were described as minor.

The fire started Thursday morning in a recreational facility at RCDC. It is believed the recreation facility is part of building II. NewsWest9's Victor Lopez reports that the fire is out and fire crews were still on the scene. Some smaller fires started in a yard at the prison were also out. 

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Second Riot in 2 Months at GEO's Reeves County Detention Center Leaves Injuries, Significant Damage

The second major riot in two months has left significant damage at the GEO Group's Reeves County Detention Center, according to a story by the Associated Press ("Company says Texas prison's damage 'significant,'" February 3),

The company that runs a federal prison in West Texas says "significant" damage from the second riot in less than two months has left the facility unable to resume normal operations.

The GEO Group Inc. said in a statement Tuesday that inmates in two of the Reeves County Detention Center's three units remain under staff view in a central area of the complex. The Boca Raton, Fla.-based company says inmates remain "cooperative and compliant" after a riot that started Saturday afternoon.

The company says there have been no serious injuries to staff or inmates.

However, CNN ("Texas riot quelled, inmates damage buildings" February 1) claims that there were at least three inmate hospitalizations, including an inmate with a severed fingers.  The prisoners are apparently protesting for better medical care, according to an AP video story with some dramatic footage ("Company Says Riot at Private Texas Prisons" February 2).  The December riot was based on similar problems with medical care, including the mysterious death of an inmate. 

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