Jun 22, 2015
More than 200 immigrants held at Eloy Detention Center in Arizona began a hunger strike on June 13 to protest the death of a fellow inmate, 31-year-old Jose de Jesus Deniz-Sahagun.
The protesters said that guards beat Deniz-Sahagun, maced him, stripped him naked and threw him into solitary confinement before he died. Authorities acknowledged that Deniz-Sahagun had head injuries, but they denied he died as a result of the beating. They claimed he probably committed suicide by swallowing a sock, even though they admitted that they didn’t know where he would have gotten the sock while being alone in a cell.
The authorities denied that there was a hunger strike either. But members of Puente, the immigrant rights group that publicized the hunger strike, said they watched through a fence how prison officials locked the hunger strikers out in a yard in 100-plus-degree temperatures for six hours without shade or water, in retaliation for the protest.
Besides the death of Deniz-Sahagun and another inmate recently, detainees are protesting a whole series of abuses at Eloy. These include denial of medical attention to detainees; chemicals in the water that make them sick; beatings; and the fact that detainees are paid only one dollar per day for eight hours of work.
So while immigrant workers, criminalized for crossing the border to find work, are terrorized, capitalists make a nice profit off their work even when they are imprisoned. Not to mention the big profits they make from running some of these immigrant prisons: Eloy Detention Center is operated by Corrections Corporation of America, a private company contracted by the U.S. government.
It sounds like the perfect scheme for bosses. It sounds like capitalism!