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9 Non-Violent Activists Facing 15 Years in Prison for Causing Minor Inconvenience to Private Prison Executives

Gerry Bello


On December 3rd, while the rest of the country wondering how they would pay for the mandatory upcomming religous holiday, activists in Boca Raton Florida were holding the Geo Group responsible for imprisoning and raping immigrant children. Less than a dozen were there at the headquarters of the company that maintains private prisons for children on behalf of ICE. In addition to making a profit off of the government sponsored rape camps, the corporation has grown rich from providing private prison services to many local and state governments alongside the federal gulag.

Eight of the activists were arrested to criminal tresspass for locking themselves down using tar and cement to one of the entrances to the vast corporate headquarters. A ninth was arrested for using a megaphone from across the street to encourage chanting. All of the activists, including the one who did not set foot on the property, were charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing. A small protest, a small charge, a day in court for the eight non-juvenile defendants, which would be tomorrow, February 11th and that is pretty much it.

Somehow that is far from the case. Friday the 7th brought the police to the home of one of the defendants, Alexis Butler. They claimed they had received a 9-11 call from inside the house. No call had been made. The dragged her out and arrested her on three felony charges: False Imprisonment, Conspiracy to Commit False imprisonment, and Criminal Mischief with damages in excess $1000. Taken together the sentences for these could land her in prison for up to 15 years. The other activists expect to be arrested a second time at their court date tomorrow morning.

The irony of imprisoning executives of a private prison corporation is not lost here. The idea that they were actually imprisoned in a building with multiple entrances to it and multiple ways in and out of the parking lot, as can be seen from the picture above, is even more laughable. They might have been inconvenienced ever so slightly if it had been quitting time when this happened, but it was morning and they were already there, ostensibly working hard for the money the taxpayers give them to incarcerate and sexually abuse children.

The irony does not end with the charges. The Geo Group has six facilities scattered around Florida. In encouraging authorities to give activists these hugely charges, they stand a very good chance of actually profiting off the whole affair by incarcerating the activists themselves. Considering the corporation's human rights record, the activists will certainly be abused while worked for profit by the corporation who is paid to hold them.

That abuse has already begun for Alexis Butler. According to a press release sent out by her activist group after approval from their attorney, she is be held in conditions that inhumane by any stretch the legal definition and are clearly special, punitive and personally designed for her discomfort.

According to Butler “There is no lights out.” She is in a holding cell with the lights on 24 hours a day. She has not been moved to the general population of the jail. She is expected to sleep on the floor on a mat. Her food is not vegetarian. She is. One guard gave her an extra packet of peanut butter which is the size of a packet of ketchup. Another guard determined that the packet was “contraband”.

For possession of the contraband peanut butter that was given to her by the guard she was placed in solitary without food, water or contact for 14 hours as punishment. As of this writing she has gone without food for 3 days and mostly without sleep. This sort of abuse by guards on female prisoners is not extreme in the Palm Beach County Jail. She has witnessed at least one female prisoner being denied a menstrual pad until she “proved” (read disrobed in front of) to a guard that she needed one. This is the same jail that gently housed serial child rapist Jeffery Epstein two days a week while he spent the rest of his sentence on his private island under “house arrest.”

Activists are planning a “Geo is Guilty” rally for 7:30 am in front of the courthouse. We will see how many of them will be arrested for inconveniencing the sensibilities of the court system that makes this level of human rights abuse both routine and profitable for the multi-billion dollar publicly traded corporation that is the Geo Group.