A chronicle of prisoner unrest across the US and Canada, 2010-present
“Breaking Down Borders” Hunger Strike at Northwest Detention Center in Response to COVID-19
March 27, 2020: Immigrant detainees started a hunger strike to protest the lack of adequate response to the outbreak of COVID-19. By the following day, the number had reached at least 80. As of Sunday, March 29, between 300 and 500 detainees were on strike.
Hunger Strike at Stewart Detention Center, Georgia in Response to COVID-19
March 26, 2020: At least 350 immigrants detained at the for-profit Stewart Detention Center held a hunger strike demanding their immediate release.
ICE Detainees Hunger Strike in Richwood, Louisiana in Response to COVID-19
March 25, 2020: A group of detainees held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody at the Richwood Detention Center in Louisiana organized a hunger strike demanding their freedom in the midst of a growing outbreak of COVID-19 in jails, prison and detention centers in the US. According to a statement recorded by the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network and published by Latino Rebels, 60 of the 64 detainees in one housing unit are participating in the strike.
9 Women Escape from Work Release Facility in South Dakota to Avoid COVID-19 Exposure
March 24, 2020: Nine prisoners housed at the Pierre Community Work Center in South Dakota walked out of the facility without permission after another prisoner there tested positive for COVID-19.
Hunger Strike at Laval Immigration Holding Centre, Quebec Against COVID-19 Conditions
March 24, 2020: Between ten and thirty people at an immigration detention centre near Montreal began a hunger strike on March 24 to protest the inadequate measures to prevent their exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Their demands include their immediate release as well medical attention to reduce the risk of COVID-19 contamination.
Disturbance at Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center, Louisiana
March 24, 2020: A group of immigrant detainees at the Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center were pepper sprayed Tuesday after becoming “physically combative” in the recreation area, according to ICE officials who spoke with BuzzFeed News. Details of the incident are unclear at this time, but it occurs amidst a growing wave of protest at jails, prisons and detention centers across the country in response to a growing outbreak of COVID-19 among incarcerated people.
51 ICE Detainees Sign Petition Expressing COVID-19 Concerns
March 23, 2020: Immigrant detainees in the Bristol County House of Correction released two letters expressing concerns about COVID-19 and demanding the release of some detainees. One of the letters was signed by 51 detainees.
Two Protests at LaSalle ICE Processing Center, Louisiana in Response to COVID-19
March 23 and March 25, 2020: Immigrant detainees at the LaSalle ICE Processing Center staged two protests last week in response to concerns over the potential spread of COVID-19 in their facility, according to government documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.
ICE Detainees in South Texas Protest Over Lack of Response to COVID-19 Epidemic
March 23, 2020: Approximately 60 immigrant detainees refused to return to their cell block Monday in protest of a lack of response on the part of the facility to the threat of COVID-19. In response to the protest, guards sprayed the protesters with OC Spray. The event was referred to as a “riot” by journalists and advocates, but the specifics of the incident are still unclear.
14 Escape Yakima County Jail During COVID-19 Crisis
March 23, 2020: After a quarantine related to the COVID-19 virus is lifted, 14 prisoners break open an emergency door and escape.