The D.C. Prisoners' Project of the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs, along with Covington & Burling, filed a class-action suit yesterday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The suit alleges inadequate and unconstitutional medical care for many D.C. inmates being held in the Rivers Correctional Facility in Winton, N.C. GEO Group, a private prison contractor that operates the facility, and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons have been named as defendants.
After the 2001 closure of the District's notorious and dilapidated Lorton prison, more than 7,000 D.C. inmates are now being detained in various federal prisons, including Rivers under a contract between GEO and the Bureau of Prisons. The suit seeks to remedy "the grossly inadequate and inhumane level of medical care" at Rivers, which allegedly has occurred because of aggressive cost-cutting measures by GEO. The publicly traded company posted revenues of more than $860 million last year with more than $30 million in profits, according to the plaintiffs' press release.