“Suddenly they just started gassing us. You could just hear everyone screaming for help,” Yandy Bacallao, a 34-year-old Cuban asylum claimant, told Searchlight New Mexico.
A CoreCivic spokesman confirmed that the incident took place. Ryan Gustin said on the company’s behalf that officers pepper-sprayed “a group of detainees who became disruptive by refusing to comply with verbal directives provided by staff.” Gustin referred further questions to ICE, which had no response to requests for comment.
Torrance County Manager Wayne Johnson was skeptical of inmate accounts, saying he had no confirmation that the incident had even happened, but suspects “there’s more to it than what you’ve been told.”
The county recorded $90,000 in income from CoreCivic last fiscal year, when the site started housing migrants, and expects annual revenue from the arrangement to climb to about $130,000 per year.
Bacallao and two other detainees provided additional details. After almost three dozen ...
The first round of testing was done in late May, with the National Guard’s help, inmates and staff alike. Everyone was locked down for a week while we awaited results. Around 250 inmates and 60 staff tested positive, roughly 8 to 10 percent of both populations. For a couple of months after that, when prisoners developed symptoms, they were removed from the cellblocks, quarantined, and monitored.
There was an entire building of sick and quarantined inmates on another part of the compound, though the official numbers didn’t appear to reflect that. Officially, one person has died from the virus here, according to DOC website — but two other recent deaths may have been virus-related. One of them was wheeled down the walk with CPR being performed on him as many of us watched from the rec yard. ...
Tarra Simmons is one of those voices, running for a state representative seat in Washington. Simmons, like many others, found herself addicted to opiates after a serious injury led to dependence on painkillers. Charges for drug dealing, theft and weapons possession followed, leading to almost two years behind bars.
Being incarcerated is part of her story and her identity, and she’s using it as an asset. “I went to prison. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I understand how people end up there,” Simmons says. As lawmakers try to reform policing and justice, it’s vital to have that perspective represented in state capitals and Congress.
Prison is not the only experience Simmons brings to the race. She was an ER nurse prior to her incarceration, and afterward earned a law degree and started a civil rights nonprofit. She ...