Stop Abusing Black Immigrants at the Folkston ICE Detention Center
Sign and share this urgent campaign to demand the release of Allen, Garsumo, and a third man who remains anonymous for now from solitary confinement! All three men have faced torturous conditions, physical assault, and medical neglect in ICE custody. This is a critical situation and those incarcerated at FIPC are calling for help!
On April 16, 2022, approximately 15 men detained in the C-1 and C-4 pods at the Folkston ICE Processing Center (FIPC), a privately-run Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center operated by the private prison corporation The GEO Group (GEO), were in the yard while a peaceful rally was taking place outside the facility’s fences. The men were considering going back inside the facility when Lieutenant Crews began to insult them and threatened to punish them if they did not go inside immediately. They told Lt. Crews—who has a reputation for demeaning people in his custody and destroying their property—that he had no reason to speak so rudely and that they wanted to speak with his supervisor. In retaliation, Lt. Crews repeated his threats and insults and locked the yard door, refusing to allow the group of men who remained in the yard to enter the facility for nearly three hours.
The men remained in the yard with no food or water under the burning-hot sun as punishment for asking to be treated with dignity and respect. The men became dehydrated and some asked to enter so they could get water, but the guards said that they were ordered not to open the door. In the mid-afternoon South Georgia heat, Allen Roberts, one of the men in the yard, suffered an asthma attack. But Lt. Crews ignored Allen’s pleas for an inhaler, opting instead to stand silently at the window of the closed door, filming the people outside for close to 45 minutes despite Allen’s repeated requests for help. Finally, around 3:45pm, Lt. Crews opened the door and the men went back inside the facility with their heads held high, proud they stood up for themselves.
Two days later, between 10:00 and 11:00 am, GEO guards decided to make an example of three of the men who had remained in the yard on April 16. Notably, all three men are Black. One of the men is Mr. Roberts and the second is named Garsumo Dorley. The third man remains anonymous. Guards came to each of the three men’s cells. They told the men to come out and speak with Lieutenant Campbell. Two of the men agreed, but Garsumo, who copes with post-traumatic stress disorder, had been instructed by the facility psychiatrist to request the psychiatrist's presence anytime there was potential for a confrontation with guards.
Garsumo told the guards he would go with them but that he was feeling high levels of anxiety and requested a doctor. Instead of contacting the doctor, the guards brought in a five person “extraction team” to force Garsumo from his cell. Realizing that he was about to be physically forced from his cell by five guards, Garsumo said he would go willingly, and that the extraction team was not necessary. He got out of bed and began brushing his teeth to calm himself down. While Garsumo was brushing his teeth, the extraction team slammed the door open and tackled him. They knocked Garsumo against the floor and he felt their knees on his back and jaw as they cuffed him.
“I tried to tell them I would go with them, but they wouldn’t listen” Garsumo said, “They twisted my arms, cuffed my wrists and ankles. Afterward, I was bruised all over, I couldn’t open my jaw.”
GEO leadership convened an “Institutional Disciplinary Panel” and the panel summarily decided that the three men would spend 32 days in solitary confinement for having participated in the group demonstration on April 16. Garsumo was sentenced to an additional 22 days for having asked to speak with his psychiatrist, for a total of 54 days in solitary confinement.
Solitary confinement at FIPC means that a person spends 23 out of 24 hours every day alone in a concrete cell with a heavy metal door, bright fluorescent lights that are on from 6:00 am until 11:00 pm every day, and nothing for entertainment or distraction. For one hour each day, guards escort Allen, Garsumo, and the third man to separate chain link cages in the yard where they are left in the hot sun until it is time to come back to their concrete cells.
While in solitary confinement, Garsumo was assaulted by yet another guard who wanted to start a fight with him so that the guard could blame Garsumo and change assignment. Garsumo filed a grievance, but rather than addressing the grievance, guards responded by threatening him with phrases like "it's on," and "now it’s GEO Group versus Garsumo.” Garsumo is afraid of another guard assaulting him because he knows it would be a mistake to defend himself. He is even afraid to eat the food the guards bring because of what they might be doing to it.
This kind of treatment is unacceptable.
It is not surprising that a for-profit prison company puts such a low value on human dignity and life. It is clear that people are not safe from abuse at Folkston ICE Processing Center and we are furious that GEO would respond to people exercising their right to free speech by locking them up in solitary confinement. There is a growing consensus among psychologists in the US that solitary confinement is dangerous and harmful,* and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture reported as early as 2011 that prolonged solitary confinement – that is, solitary confinement past 15 days – “amounted to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or – in more severe cases – to torture.”**
We demand that the GEO Group stop using our tax dollars to torture people at FIPC. We, the undersigned, demand that Facility Administrator Greenawalt release Garsumo Dorley from solitary confinement immediately!