Nearly three thousand immigrant prisoners are being transferred to undisclosed federal facilities after a two-day demonstration against indecent living conditions and medical care left the Willacy County Regional Detention Facility in need of repairs.
Willacy is a private prison operated by the Management and Training Corporation (MTC), where thousands of inmates are housed in khaki-colored Kevlar domes. Located less than an hour north of the Mexico border in the town of Raymondville, Texas, the tent-city prison has been given the nickname Ritmo for its oppressive conditions and resemblance to Guantanamo Bay. It is one of thirteen private Criminal Alien Requirement facilities in the country receiving millions in taxpayer dollars to incarcerate immigrant offenders on behalf of the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
The demonstration began on Friday morning when prisoners refused to leave their housing units for breakfast, telling guards they would not work or do their chores. “After speaking with the inmates, we learned some were unhappy with the medical services and were demonstrating to make their concerns known. The warden and other facility leaders met with the offenders to attempt to resolve their concerns and provide a resolution,” an MTC spokesperson later told reporters.