Two Oregon state officials and the $81 billion Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund, Salem, have demanded private prison companies CoreCivic and GEO Group provide safe and humane care at their immigration detention centers.
The pension plan owned 47,537.035 shares of CoreCivic and 48,190.434 shares of GEO Group as of Jan. 10.
In letters dated Monday, Oregon state Treasurer Tobias Read and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said top executives and board members of both companies breached their fiduciary obligations of loyalty, good faith and due care by failing to provide "safe, humane detention centers and prisons that satisfy its contractual obligations with the federal government and its broader legal obligations."
In the letter to CoreCivic, the letter cited among other things, a 2017 Department of Homeland Security report finding that at its Stewart Detention Center, Lumpkin, Ga., it housed immigrants with high-risk criminal convictions with low-risk detainees and that the center was not clean and had limited hygienic supplies. The detainee bathrooms were in poor condition, including mold and peeling paint on walls, floors and showers, bathrooms with no hot water and showers without cold water, and water leaks in housing areas, the letter said.
Four people have died at Stewart Detention Center, including Pedro Arriago-Santoya from sudden cardiac arrest in August.
"As shareholders, it's incumbent upon us to speak up when company boards are not meeting their fiduciary responsibilities," Mr. Read said in a news release. He is a member of the Oregon Investment Council, Tigard, which invests on behalf of the state pension fund.
Ms. Rosenblum said: "We have significant legal concerns about the mistreatment of individuals detained in facilities run by GEO Group and CoreCivic — in particular the denial of detainees' basic needs and the unsafe conditions in which they are being forced to live."