There have been a number of stories over the last few years surrounding the abuses of immigrant detainees in private prison facilities. The coverage has shown a level of cruelty within this industry that most people could not have imagined. Even banks and investors, not known to be particularly moral themselves, have found the behavior of the private prison contractors’ behavior to be too atrocious to ignore. Even these folks don’t want to profit off the inhumanity and cruelty of the private prison industry. The State of New Mexico, on the other hand, is glad to do it.
Prison Cruelty is Nothing New
Cruelty seems to be the norm in American prisons. There is no shortage of literature on the topic. Likewise, there is no shortage of lawsuits related to prison cruelty. Our firm alone has numerous suits where we have alleged and intend to prove callous and deliberately cruel denial of emergency medical care. In many of those cases, simple infections have been allowed to progress to the point that they infect the spines of the prisoners in the form of osteomyelitis and sepsis. Both osteomyelitis and sepsis are life-threatening. Both are easily preventable. Both result in permanent and rather severe damage to the spine.
In the cases Collins & Collins, P.C. has filed, the infections were obvious or should have been obvious to even a marginally competent medical student. There were numerous signs of worsening infection that were ignored. Among these signs were sick call requests and medical grievances that were not properly addressed, trivialized and often ignored completely. Some of our clients were pleading for their lives, yet nothing was done to help them. They were in such intense pain that other inmates would act to assist them by also pleading with NMCD and medical staff for help.
In short, prison cruelty is not a hypothetical. It is very real and is the norm at least insofar as medical care is concerned which is where Collins & Collins, P.C. focuses its attention.
Societal Bias Against Prisoners
A lot of folks have difficulty empathizing with prisoners. In fact, I was one of those people before starting to work on prison medical neglect cases. In addition to general bias, one could argue rationally that courts, especially federal courts, are biased against prisoners no matter the atrocities suffered and alleged. In fact, there are not a whole lot of law firms willing to even consider prison cases because of the bias. It turns on a business decision made by law firms. The costs and risks of loss, on somewhat arbitrary grounds at times, weighs against taking prisoners as clients.
Banks, pension funds and other investors no doubt shared the bias. They have been to date among the chief architects of the American prison system. They apparently had no problem with the daily systemic cruelty of prisoners and their contractors toward prisoners.
What changed? Perhaps it was the children in cages.
As aforementioned, many law firms simply cannot take on the risks and costs of prison cases. This is a valid and understandable business decision. I suppose the bias against prisoners is also understandable given the way prisoners are portrayed. However, due to the growing spotlight on the cruelty of prisons and especially private contractors, many businesses are distancing themselves from private prison contractors.
It has taken a long time for any businesses to take note of the cruelty of private prison contractors. It took photos of children in cages and infants being yanked from their mother’s arms to get their attention. Without belaboring the point, they should have taken notice decades ago as private prisons and prisons generally are a direct and successful attempt to replicate slavery in a legal form.
100% of Banking Partners Divest from Private Prison Sector
Divestiture of investments from the private prison sector is indeed a business decision. Banks will invest in anything that makes money. Banks are not known for taking the moral high ground. Instead, they are often bottom feeders which is where private prison contractors reside. The fact that 100% of private prison sector banking partners have divested is an extraordinary indictment of the cruelty of private prison contractors.
Nation’s Largest Pension Fund Divests
In addition to the banks divestiture, the country’s larges pension fund has pulled out of private prison funds and investments. Other pension funds will most assuredly follow suit.
New Mexico Embraces Private Prison Contractors
In light of the discussion above, it is truly outrageous that New Mexico, a blue state, continues to work with private prison contractors. In fact, New Mexico has the highest percent of facilities run by private contractors of any state. The State of New Mexico is sticking with them, even the ones who have been the cause of children in cages and toddlers taken from their mothers’ arms.
Why would New Mexico stick with private prison contractors even when the banksters won’t and these private contractors are costing New Mexico millions upon millions in settlements, verdicts and legal costs. That is a good question to ask the governor and your legislators. I encourage you to do so.