In 2007, border patrol officers caught Jesus Manuel Galindo swimming across the Rio Grande to visit family in New Mexico. Charged with and convicted of illegal re-entry to the country, Galindo was ordered to serve 30 months at the Reeves County Detention Center, a sprawling prison complex in Pecos, Texas. In prison, he told officials he had a long history of epileptic seizures. He routinely complained he wasn't being given the right medication, that his seizures had worsened. For some reason he was placed in solitary confinement.
|Willacy County's CAR tent prison|
"I already told them (warden and doctor) that I have been here for one month alone and I have gotten sick twice," Galindo wrote his mother two days before his death, according to a lawsuit later filed against the prison. "I've already asked if they can place me with someone else so I won't be by myself anymore."
In December 2008, Galindo suffered a grand mal seizure while he was alone inside his isolation cell. His body was already cold to the touch and showed signs of rigor mortis when staff found him in the morning. Fellow prisoners were outraged when they saw Galindo's body being carted out of his cell. Two inmates set a mattress on fire using wires and an electrical outlet. In the ensuing riot, inmates took some prison workers hostage, set fires across the facility, and caused over $1 million in damage.
The prisoners' demands: adequate medical care.
That same complaint appears to have sparked a riot at another of Texas' so-called Criminal Alien Requirement prisons -- privately-run facilities that contract with the federal Bureau of Prisons to house low-risk non-U.S. citizen inmates. On Friday, inmates at the Willacy County Correctional Center, a South Texas prison operated by private-prison company Management & Training Corp., refused to do their routine chores or eat breakfast, according to the McAllen Monitor. Issa Arnita, a spokesman for the company, told the paper that inmates were complaining about medical care. More »