Monday, February 2, 2009

Texas Prison Riot Garners Virtually Zero National Media Coverage

Texas prisoners riot for 2nd time in two months

The Boston Globe

"PECOS, Texas - Law enforcement authorities in West Texas were trying yesterday to restore order at a privately run federal prison where a riot broke out, the second disturbance in as many months.

Tela Mange, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety, said the riot at the Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos started Saturday and was continuing. It wasn't immediately clear how many inmates were involved and whether any guards or prisoners were injured.

The facility about 430 miles west of Dallas holds more than 2,400 inmates."

Did you hear about the big prison riot down in Texas - the second one in two months? The one at the privately-run prison-for-profit?

You didn't?!?! Well, that's not surprising, because there's been virtually no national media coverage. Nothing on CNN, nothing on MSNBC, nothing on the NY Times.

It's weird. I would think prisoners rioting twice in two months would be kind of a big story. There's more details about this "honestly currently still happening" prison riot* here:
"Following the death of an inmate at Reeves Correctional Institution, inmates have rioted and have completely destroyed the facility. There are many injured and inmates are stranded outside of the facility.

Nobody knows what’s going on… The lack of medical attention at several privately managed federal correctional facilities has been under a lot of scrutiny lately. Several inmates, primarily at the Reeves Correctional Institution in Pecos, TX have passed away because they didn’t receive proper medical attention in a timely manner.

Inmates at the facilities have rallied together to let their voices and their requests be heard loud and clear. The last known incident of a riot at this facility was on December 13, 2008 and at this very moment as I am writing this post there is another riot currently underway. An inmate has just passed away because he was NOT given the medical attention he needed.
I wonder why it is that a second violent disturbance in two months at a privately run prison-for-profit wouldn't make big headlines? After all, Googling "riots reeves correctional" brought me to exactly two links from major news outlets - the Boston Globe, and the San Francisco Examiner. But nothing on CNN, the NY Times, MSNBC, or CBSNews. To be fair, ABC & Fox did carry the same AP release that the Globe had, but they had it deep in their "US News" sections - the back page, tiny font treatment.

Maybe desperate prisoners demanding better health care after an inmate died isn't the sort of urgently newsworthy story that could replace Michael Phelps' bong hits from the front page. Maybe a large group of minimum security inmates (read: potheads and illegal immigrants) rioting after a young inmate dies because he didn't get needed health care isn't that interesting of a story, like say the enthralling "news" that there are ads during the Super Bowl. Probably no one cares that the company that runs the Reeves Correctional Institution, the GEO Group, has been repeatedly cited in both Texas and Pennsylvania for running unsanitary prisons and skimping on the health care, which has resulted in preventable deaths.

Seems like some news organizations have decided that we don't want to hear about corporate prisons treating minimum security prisoners as though they're sub-human. Thank goodness we'll be spared all of that unpleasantness.


Did you hear the Michael Phelps smoked a bong?

*No longer happening.

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