Saturday, January 28, 2012

Part 2: An Unanswered Call for Answers

Below is the actual letter that was sent to Special Agent Lamkin and the Federal Bureau of Investigations seeking answers for the very questionable death of Roberto Martinez Medina. Mr. Medina died while he was in the custody of Corrections Corporation of America at the For-profit Stewart Detention Center. To this day no one from the FBI or Department of Homeland Security has contacted me to investigate this matter or respond to my very serious allegations relating to his untimely death. 

Incidentally I still feel "that this issue is much bigger than a blog entry on my humble blog." However I now feel that I'm left with no choice but to release my allegations here to possibly force a government investigation into this matter by airing the actual complaint as well as highlighting this incident that I believe led to the Department of Homeland Security to target myself and my blog for a rather lengthy and detailed investigation. In Part 3 I will focus on media coverage related to my blog and in Part 4 I will focus on the actual investigation that ICE/DHS conducted on me. (Picture is courtesy of Georgia Detention Watch).

Special Agent Lamkin,

Almost two years ago Roberto Medina died at the Stewart Detention Center (SDC) in Lumpkin, GA. This is a private for profit facility operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). It is my belief that CCA and Public Health Services workers have covered up pertinent details of his death and that Mr. Medina had his civil rights violated while in custody. Public Health Services provides medical services at SDC.

I would like to request that your agency look into this incident and resolve the many questions that still exist almost two years after his death. I run a blog that has previously reported on conditions at SDC. I was contacted by a current employee that revealed the following timeline concerning Mr. Medina's death:

2000 Hours (8 PM) - Roberto Medina is alive and lying on his bunk. Detainees report to Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) staff members that Mr. Medina is very sick. The control room operator is asked by another CCA staff member to call medical to get Mr. Medina treatment. Several second shift officers then state that medical already knew and that Mr. Medina was fine. A staff member calls medical on the telephone from the unit anyway. Medical staff tells this staff member that the Public Health Service (PHS) doctor had previously seen Mr. Medina and that he was "okay."

0100 (1 AM) Before 2nd count a CCA staff member calls a "Medical Emergency" over the radio. Instead of coming to the unit (as policy requires) a medical staff member calls the unit on the telephone and asks what the emergency is. PHS were told on the phone that Mr. Medina was "very sick" and "would not respond" to CCA staff members. PHS again asserted that they were not coming to the unit because Mr. Medina had already been seen by medical and that he was fine. After count a different staff member was put into the housing unit with Mr. Medina. This was allegedly because the previous staff member was causing "trouble" by calling medical emergencies and medical staff about Mr. Medina's health status. A staff member alleges that Mr. Medina was deceased at the time of the 0100 count.

The next day staff learned that Mr. Medina had died. Word was sent to at least one staff member by the Sergeant on duty (at the Captains request) that they needed to keep "there mouth shut about stuff that they did not know anything about or that they might loose there job for talking about someones medical condition." Staff members were also reminded that CCA had had them all sign a privacy statement at the time that they were hired.

It is my belief that CCA and PHS violated Mr. Medina's civil rights by not providing him with emergency medical care. Furthermore that CCA and PHS both have attempted to cover-up the incident and that plenty of evidence of this exists if a proper investigation was to be conducted by your agency. Your agency should consider reviewing log book entries, video tape and interviewing staff on duty that day etc.

Mr. Medina was denied medical care over several shifts even though both staff and detainees attempted to get him seen by doctors. I feel that this issue is much bigger than a blog entry on my humble blog and deserves to be looked into in a much more formal manner.

Best Wishes,
Bryan L. Holcomb

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Demand Wells Fargo Invest in Jobs Not Cages

I will not be attending this event due to health problems. However I would like to strongly encourage my readers to participate. If you bank with Wells Fargo in a city other than Atlanta you can still participate by closing your account and letting them know that you are doing so in opposition to there investment practices.

Contact:  Everett Howe, ABLE,, 404.290.9504
Roger Sikes, Jobs with Justice,, 404.782.0737
Priscilla Padron, Georgia Detention Watch,, 404.373.7325

Atlanta, Georgia - January 24th, 2012 - National Day of Action Against the Private Prison Industry

Georgia groups join with communities in thirteen other cities across the country  at a rally urging Wells Fargo to divest from the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and Geo stock and invest in humanity.  The action is at Wells Fargo Downtown, 2 Peachtree Street at 11:30 a.m.

I am outraged that a bank invests in incarcerating fathers and mothers whose only crime is working to improve the lives of their families.  That's why we are asking Wells Fargo to divest from CCA and GEO,  says Everett Howe, a retired Air Force engineer, who is active in both Georgia Detention Watch and Atlantans Building Leadership for Empowerment (ABLE).

We urge Wells Fargo customers to move their accounts and deposit boxes from Wells Fargo, a major investor in Corrections Corporation of America CCA and GEO, said Priscilla Padron of Georgia Detention Watch. Both companies promote, build, manage, and profit from private prisons.  Instead, community members should consider opening accounts with local credit unions.

CCA and the GEO Group are the two largest corporations profiting from imprisoning immigrants. By lobbying legislators and contributing to their campaigns, they are the power and brains behind the anti-immigrant laws that are incarcerating community members in states like Georgia, Alabama, and Arizona.

Sponsors of the action include:
Georgia Detention Watch*
Gamaliel organization (ABLE)*
Atlanta Jobs with Justice
Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR)
Occupy Atlanta

*Georgia Detention Watch will lead the rally on behalf of the Atlanta area.  Georgia Detention Watch is a coalition of organizations and individuals that advocates alongside immigrants to end the inhumane and unjust detention and law enforcement policies and practices directed against immigrant communities in our state. Our coalition includes activists, community organizers, persons of faith, lawyers, and many more.

*ABLE is a local affiliate of Gamaliel, a grassroots network of non-partisan, faith-based organizations in 18 U.S. states, South Africa and the United Kingdom that organizes to empower ordinary people to effectively participate in the political, environmental, social and economic decisions affecting their lives.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Part 1: Death of an Immigrant

I'm a little late in posting this due to some health problems I have. This is the first part in a new series of articles on this blog detailing why I believe this blog was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security/Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency. See last weeks blog for more information.
In March of 2009 Roberto Martinez Medina died while being detained at Corrections Corporation of America's (CCA) Stewart Detention Center (SDC). Mr. Medina died from what many people believe was a very treatable heart infection. Mr. Medina allegedly was repeatedly denied medical attention for this condition. Many activists and organizations have also pointed to the location of CCA's Stewart Detention Center as being a major factor in his death. With almost 2,000 people being detained at the Stewart Detention Center many people continue to believe that a location closer to major medical service providers should of been chosen for the facility. By locating this facility almost a full hour away from any source of advanced medical care, immigrants being detained there will continue to pay a price. For Mr. Medina that price was his life.
Many months after Mr. Medina's Death this blog began to receive reports of incompetence and indifference among Corrections Corporation of America and Public Health Services employees that we believe led to Mr. Medina being denied medical care. Allegedly the Public Health Services medical staff on duty refused to see Mr. Medina while some of the Corrections Corporation of America staff on duty (who were aware of Mr. Medina's pleas for medical care) displayed an uncaring attitude that ignored Mr. Medina's pain and suffering even as they watched him very slowly die in front of them. It is my personal belief that the repeated denial of medical services while in Corrections Corporation of America's custody at the Stewart Detention Center had an immediate and terminal effect on Mr. Medina's health.
This blog however also wishes to highlight the previously undocumented actions of a few unnamed Corrections Corporation of America staff members who in the face of corporate adversity did the right thing and continued to try and seek medical care for Mr. Medina. Perhaps if the Corrections Corporation of America supervisors on duty and the facilities administration had been more sympathetic to there pleas of needed care then Mr. Medina would still be with us today. It is regretful that these employees can not get the recognition that they deserve for trying to prevent what ultimately became a possibly preventable tragedy. The fear that these employees felt in contacting me in regards to Mr. Medina's death speaks volumes about the environment and corporate culture that Corrections Corporation of America appears to have in place at the Stewart Detention Center.
As a blogger I chose at the time not to write about the allegations I received regarding Mr. Medina's untimely death on this blog. I believed that this issue was much larger than my own blog. I believed that it was far more important to try and get justice for Mr. Medina than to write about it to my blog's own very small readership. So instead of blogging I optimistically contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Atlanta, GA through FBI Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Lamkin to make a Civil Rights Complaint in the death of Mr. Medina. I contacted the FBI several times and to this day I have never received any type of reply from the FBI or any other government official or department regarding Mr. Medina's death. It had been my hope that an investigation into Mr. Medina's death would be conducted in order to prevent future situations like this from taking place. I had apparently wrongly believed that someone in the government would care about the death of a detainee who died while in the custody of a for-profit company that the United States government had subcontracted with to detain him.
All opinions expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own opinion.

In the next part of this series I will release my actual (unanswered) letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (F.B.I.) that outlines what I believe was a conspiracy to cover-up Corrections Corporation of America and Public Health Services negligence in the death of Mr. Medina. It is still my belief that employees of both of these entities denied Mr. Medina basic medical care which led to his death while in Corrections Corporation of America's custody.

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The United States Government Is Still Monitoring Those Who Stand Against Civil Rights Abuses

As we get ready to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr's birthday it is very disturbing and ironic to note that Reuters news service has just reported on how the United States government is currently engaged in a "Social Networking/Media Capability program." This program monitors blogs, forums and social networks. According to the Reuters story this has been going on for at least the past 18 months. Some of the blogs being monitored wrote about civil rights issues such as my own blogs detailed postings on the long overdue need for immigration and detention reform.

Many of you are probably aware that Martin Luther King Jr. himself was also investigated by the United States government. The government engaged in serious attempts to discredit Martin Luther King Jr. in response to the progress he was making towards African-American civil rights in this country as well as his speaking out against the Vietnam War. Now I'm not trying to imply that the work of any of these bloggers or news media outlets came even remotely close to the very important and huge contributions that Martin Luther King made to civil rights. I'm just trying to say that all these years later are government still apparently feels the need to investigate and monitor groups that challenge or report on issues like civil rights abuses.

Later today or tomorrow I will write about the Department of Homeland Security investigation into myself that I believe was part of this newly discovered monitoring program. I will also be sharing with you how I believe I came to the attention of this program.
The actual Reuters news story referenced above can be found here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Suicide Attempt and Multiple Suicide Threats at CCA's Stewart Detention Center

"The 270 View" Internet blog has been informed that on Friday the Sixth of January, 2012 a Haitian detainee attempted to hang himself at the Stewart Detention Center. We have also been told that two (2) other detainees threatened suicide. The Stewart Detention Center is a for-profit detention center ran by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) that is located in Lumpkin, GA. The Stewart Detention Center currently has a contract with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to hold more than 1,800 immigration detainees. "The 270 View" Internet blog directly contacted Stewart Detention Center staff members to attempt to find out the facts regarding these incidents. One CCA staff member told us that they were not at the Detention Center when the suicide attempt was made. We were then transferred to the facilities supervisor on duty (Lieutenant Tompkins) who informed us that he had 'No comment." When asked who we could contact for details regarding this incident or if the facility had a media spokesperson who we could speak with regarding this incident he repeatedly stated 'No Comment." One can only wonder what exactly was going on at this Detention Center today that would apparently lead to multiple suicide threats and at least one rather serious suicide attempt. In our opinion these incidents could very well be a sign of more major problems at the Stewart Detention Center. The CCA ran Stewart Detention Center has previously had a history of unresolved medical problems that led to the death of at least one detainee Roberto Medina-Martinez. We do not belief that "No comment" is a satisfactory answer to are questions or concerns regarding these very troubling and serious incidents at a facility that is paid with tax-payer money. We will provide updates on this situation as we receive them and will be following this situation very closely.

All opinions expressed here are just that. Please cross check anything you read before forming your own opinion.