Thursday, April 09, 2009

Gregorio de la Rosa, and his son

Raymondville, Texas:
Do you remember the Wackenhut corporation? Apparently they've changed their name and are now the GEO group, but they still run private prisons for a profit and they get themselves in hot water due to their employees' wanton or grossly neglectful behavior. They just lost in their attempt to persuade a Texas appeals court to overturn a 42.5 million dollar judgment for wrongful death:

Houston Chronicle, "Appellate court upholds judgment in inmate's death"

A Willacy County jury had ordered Wackenhut Corrections Corp., now known as The GEO Group, and Warden David Forrest to pay the civil judgment to the family of Gregorio de la Rosa Jr."We find that Wackenhut's conduct was clearly reprehensible and, frankly, constituted a disgusting display of disrespect for the welfare of others and for this state's civil justice system," the Thirteenth Court of Appeals said in last week's ruling affirming the Willacy County civil judgment returned in 2006.

De la Rosa died a few days before his expected 2001 release, when two inmates used padlocks stuffed into socks to beat him to death.

and, from The Brownsville Herald, a PDF of the 114 page opinion. (Raymondville is Deep South Texas, near Brownsville, which is right on the border with Mexico and one of the chronically economically-deprived areas in the state. In the Rio Grande Valley the recession isn't something new but a continuation of the Nixon/Ford era one. ( The Valley is also heavily Democratic, but this is Texas and you know, funding priorities being what they are-- what can you do? )

The Thirteenth Court of Appeals issued its opinion in the case of Wackenhut Corrections Corporation and Warden David Forrest versus Gregorio de la Rosa Sr. His son, Gregorio de la Rosa Jr., was beaten to death with a lock wrapped in a sock while he was an inmate at the Wackenhut private prison in Willacy County on April 26, 2001.

CLICK HERE for the 114 page opinion.

[post revised for clarity- JV]

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At April 09, 2009 7:49 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Micah, that's fine- but email me, sil vous plais, at the addy you have for me with your current email address so I can add it to the DH interface at blogger so you are automatically sent emails from blogger of DH comments.

(I don't know how it can be set to email us about just a particular blog member-- as far as I can see it's an all or nothing setting.)

At April 10, 2009 7:38 AM, Blogger Ahma Daeus said...

A “SINGLE VOICE PROJECT” is the official name of the petition sponsored by: The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP)


The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP) is a grass roots organization driven by a single objective. We want the United States government to reclaim sole authority for state and federal prisons on US soil.
We want the United States Congress to immediately rescind all state and federal contracts that permit private prisons “for profit” to exist in the United States, or any place subject to its jurisdiction. We understand that the problems that currently plague our government, its criminal justice system and in particular, the state & federal bureau of prisons (and most correctional and rehabilitation facilities) are massive. However, it is our solemn belief that the solutions for prison reform will remain unattainable and virtually impossible as long as private prisons for profit are permitted to operate in America.

Prior to the past month, and the fiasco of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Lehman Brothers, and now the “Big Three” American Automobile manufacturers, the NPSCTAPP has always felt compelled to highlight the “moral Bottom line” when it comes to corrections and privatization. Although, we remain confounded by the reality that our government has allowed our justice system to be operated by private interests. The NPSCTAPP philosophy has always been “justice” should not be for sale at any price. It is our belief that the inherent and most fundamental responsibility of the criminal justice system should not be shirked, or “jobbed-out.” This is not the same as privatizing the post office or some trash pick up service in the community. There has to be a loss of meaning and purpose when an inmate looks at a guard’s uniform and instead of seeing an emblem that reads State Department of Corrections or Federal Bureau of Prisons, he sees one that says: “Atlas Prison Corporation.”

Let’s assume that the real danger of privatization is not some innate inhumanity on the part of its practitioners but rather the added financial incentives that reward inhumanity. The same logic that motivates companies to operate prisons more efficiently also encourages them to cut corners at the expense of workers, prisoners and the public. Every penny they do not spend on food, medical care or training for guards is a dime they can pocket. What happens when the pennies pocketed are not enough for the shareholders? Who will bailout the private prison industry when they hold the government and the American people hostage with the threat of financial failure…“bankruptcy?” What was unimaginable a month ago merits serious consideration today. State and Federal prison programs originate from government design, and therefore, need to be maintained by the government. It’s time to restore the principles and the vacated promise of our judicial system.

John F. Kennedy said, “The time to repair the roof is while the sun is shinning”. Well the sun may not be shinning but, it’s not a bad time to begin repair on a dangerous roof that is certain to fall…. because, “Incarcerating people for profit is, in a word WRONG”

There is an urgent need for the good people of this country to emerge from the shadows of cynicism, indifference, apathy and those other dark places that we migrate to when we are overwhelmed by frustration and the loss of hope.
It is our hope that you will support the NPSCTAPP with a show of solidarity by signing our petition. We intend to assemble a collection of one million signatures, which will subsequently be attached to a proposition for consideration. This proposition will be presented to both, the Speaker Of The House Of Representatives (Nancy Pelosi) and the United States Congress.

Please Help Us. We Need Your Support. Help Us Spread The Word About This Monumental And Courageous Challenge To Create Positive Change. Place The Link To The Petition On Your Website! Pass It On!

The SINGLE VOICE PETITION and the effort to abolish private “for profit” prisons is the sole intent of NPSCTAPP. Our project does not contain any additional agendas. We have no solutions or suggestions regarding prison reform. However, we are unyielding in our belief that the answers to the many problems which currently plague this nation’s criminal justice system and its penal system in particular, cannot and will not be found within or assisted by the private “for profit” prison business. The private “for profit” prison business has a stranglehold on our criminal justice system. Its vice-like grip continues to choke the possibility of justice, fairness, and responsibility from both state and federal systems.
These new slave plantations are not the answer!

For more information please visit: or email:
To sign the petition please visit:


William Thomas
National Community Outreach Facilitator
The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons
P.O. Box 156423
San Francisco, California 94115


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