Private prison tortures asylum seeker who refused "voluntary" labor

Originally published at:


Seriously, private prisons need to be banned forthwith.

If you can’t house so many people in the state/federal prison system, maybe its time to reconsider who you have in there.


EDIT: Quite depressingly, I am wrong. See below.

Private prisons are a good example of the fundamental differences between European and American thinking. Here, the idea that a private, for-profit company could hold custody of prisoners and perform the “corrective” function of the state is simply ludicrous.

(There might be some privately funded prisons on the continent - but I am near certain that the partnership extends at most to the infrastructure which is leased to the state: The prison is still run by a national prison service - not Blackwater wannabees.)


One suspects that this is as much about not letting the idea that “not doing ‘voluntary’ work” is even possible from spreading to other prisoners as it is an attempt to coerce him into doing work.


Unfortunately that isn’t the case. The UK actually uses private prisons at a higher rate than the US (though our vastly higher incarceration rate makes up for it). and as @anon14640701 noted the continent is home to Sodexo They don’t handle the custodial component of all of the prisons on that page, but some of them. Sodexo also uses prison labor in their facilities to bolster their PR image.


@anon14640701 @moortaktheundea

Ladies and/or gentlemen, I stand corrected.


Some essential functions can only be provided by government. Since Reagan and Thatcher we’ve been ignoring that fact. The result is always headlines.


Slavery. Same as it ever was.
So, why is this asylum seeker even in prison? I mean he walked to the U.S. to seek asylum and was imprisoned for what? Not going to the correct border crossing? Did he use the wrong road? How is one expected to try to enter the U.S. when seeking asylum? Do they have do enter through a specific port and is failing to do so a reason to lock someone up?

But this, in response to the phrase “solitary confinement”, this is pure slime

“Use of the term in your coverage with regard to Stewart would give readers a false impression of the reality of restricted housing at the facility,”


I wonder if the reason why it may not be as obvious in Europe is a different philosophy to incarceration. The US has a schizophrenic approach, where it can’t decide if it’s punitive, warehousing, or reform, but it very much tends towards the first two. Europe seems more about reforming prisoners; that being the case, it would tend to be more humane in its treatment and you get fewer of these particular kinds of horror stories. Certainly the US, in public and private prisons, makes a much heavier use of prison labor than any other developed nations.

1 Like

Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia

Well, if you’re going to have a story about an abusive private prison/workhouse it might as well incorporate a Dickensian name.


I would add that another philosophical break lies in the continental v. common law approach - the first tends to be idealistic (objective courts/restorative justice/imprison to reform), the second pragmatic (referee courts/punitive justice/imprison to deter). With Britain, I’m not surprised and I should have made the delineation. But I am genuinely shocked Netherlands and France make use of private prisons in relatively high numbers.

1 Like

He didn’t say “Mother may I”.



:musical_note: What do you think we got now in Britain?
Just like America, private prisons
Prisons for profit!
That mean when your kids go jail people make money off it,
So keep environments that breed crime
Build more jails at the same time
Market badness to the kids in the rhymes
As long as rich kids ain’t dying its fine! :musical_note:

OTOH, I don’t think that the UK is into enslaved prison labour to anywhere near the extent which the US is.


The discussion of whether or not solitary confinement is torture or not is not relevant to this post, and discussion of it here will be considered victim blaming.

If you really want to go down that semantic rabbit hole, start a new topic. But I wouldn’t expect a lot of appetite for that stance.



Your comment was valuable to me.

Solitary confinement has been designated as “cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment” under international law.
It is quite obviously a kind of “cruel and unusual punishment” prohibited by the Eighth Amendment.

“Torture” means to deliberately inflict physical or psychological pain in order to fulfill some desire of the torturer or compel some action from the victim.

I would hate to see you experience the cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment that physical and social isolation of 22–24 hours per day constitute.
But I sure wouldn’t mind reading a five sentence blurb about your experiences in solitary confinement one day.
Social isolation by itself changes a brain permanently in as little as fifteen days. Perhaps, in your case, for the better.

Not it my case.


I haven’t been subject to solitary confinement. Are you saying you have? How did that come about?

And even ignoring the fact that he is being punished for not performing “Voluntary” work, we have a deeper issue. He has not, as of yet, been found guilty of any crime whatsoever* and yet he he has been punished with solitary confinement by a private company. A private company is acting as investigator, judge, and jailer by deciding to put him into solitary confinement. Once we gave them that power without any real judicial review, it was almost inevitable that they would abuse it as they have in this case.

*he is under administrative detention. In theory, the only reason to keep him in a detention facility is to make sure that he shows up for his court date in a civil case brought against him by the government.