For my birthday this year, I would like to raise some money for a detainee that I met in March during my law school’s Alternative Spring Break; I was involved in 50 hours pro-bono legal work with the Southern Poverty Law Center at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. The detainee is one who has been in our country since before I was even born (and, as you all know, I am no Spring chick[en]) and had existed under the [immigration] radar for a very long time while working for a carnival company. Four months ago, this detainee had a vehicle/driving issue and, consequently, was taken into ICE [U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement] custody and was sent to the remotely-located detention center.
This detainee is a single amputee with only one lung and has no family and few friends in this country at all. When first arrested, ICE had broken the detainee’s prescription eyeglasses on arrival to the facility and Dept of Corrections [DOC] would only replace them if the detainee paid for them. On arrival to Irwin (yet another privately-owned detention center), DOC broke and/or lost parts to the detainee's prosthetic leg and had yet to repair it, leaving the detainee confined to a wheelchair. To add insult to injury, DOC had not provided the detainee with an altered jumpsuit given that the detainee has only one leg. On the day we met, the detainee had had a shower a few days earlier, the first shower in FOUR weeks: the facility is literally unequipped for physically-challenged and wheelchair-bound detainees. Inhumane as well as cruel and unusual.
When I left, the detainee (who despite these awful circumstances had quite a positive outlook) had only $40 in the prison “bank.” The detainee was saving the $40 for a “bus ticket if [the detainee] ever got out.” It was heartbreaking to hear the story.
I am happy to say that the day that I met the detainee, the Southern Poverty Law Center officially took on the detainee as a client, pro-bono, and will fight this injustice. In lieu of gifts, I am asking you all to please donate any amount at all. Even the smallest amounts enable detainees to buy stamps as well as other small necessities. Thank you!
P.S. A small update since this post: the detainee now officially has a whole team working on the case. I got an update from one of the attorneys at Southern Poverty Law Center in Ocilla. #progress
P.P.S. 4-8-2018 - I just want to thank everyone so far for the infinite generosity!
"Whoever Saves a Life Saves the World" (Talmud Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5)