TUCSON— Today, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General released a new report condemning medical conditions at La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy, AZ. The report found that the facility, operated by private-prison company CoreCivic, failed to implement and enforce basic guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and provide detainees with adequate medical care. In response, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva issued the following statement:
“The findings of these reports demonstrate a systemic disregard for humanity and basic human dignity at the La Palma Correctional Center. They show a stunning lack of basic protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and an understaffed and ill-equipped medical unit to provide critical care. These findings are emblematic of the long history of severely dangerous circumstances we see in privately-operated facilities like La Palma where profits are put before protecting lives. I introduced the Justice is Not For Sale Act to ban federal, state, and local governments from contracting with these entities and end the profit incentives that allow these terrible conditions to flourish with impunity. I will continue fighting in Congress to end all private prisons and detention centers once and for all.”
Rep. Grijalva joined several Members of Congress in May 2020 to demand that ICE end the flow of new people into detention facilities and to release detainees—specifically vulnerable populations like pregnant women, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals, and those with severe illnesses—on humanitarian parole to reduce the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak.