​Immigrant detainees resume hunger strike at Washington private prison

70 immigrant detainees at the Northwest Detention Centre in Tacoma, Washington have resumed hunger striking after prison officials failed to improve working conditions at the facility.

There was a larger hunger strike that happened earlier in the month, but lost momentum as prison officials worked to isolate the leaders from the population. Attorneys for the inmates said that upwards of 1200 prisoners took part in the initial strike. The main goals of the strike are to improve working conditions, food quality, and wages, which currently sit at $1/day.

Background info on private immigrations detention centres and deportations in the U.S.

The Tacoma hunger strike was inspired in part by similar protests in Arizona. Both facilities are operated for the federal government by private prison operator GEO Group.

Inmates at another GEO Group-run facility in Texas recently began a hunger strike to protest comparable conditions and mass deportations in the US.

Locking up undocumented immigrants is a profitable business for private prison companies in the US, who have spent more than $32 million lobbying on the federal level since 2000 to acquire more funds for private detention centers.

The three biggest companies — Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the GEO Group and Management and Training Corp – have spent $45 million on Congressional campaign donations and lobbyists in the past decade to boost detention dollars.

Geo Group and CCA have contracts with ICE. Together their annual revenue is $3 billion.

In addition, American taxpayers pay an estimated $2 billion in 2012 imprisoning immigrants. Much of those funds will go to new facilities to house around 400,000 immigrants detained annually, the Associated Press reported.

Deportations averaged 1,000 a day last year, more than under any other US president

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