1. When I heard about Southwest Key Programs (SWK) violating human rights standards—I filed a public records request to get answers. A refresher below.
Here’s what I found in these records.
2. I am livid. And you should be, too. Ask yourself what kind of country allows children to be not only abused, slapped around, and dragged, but preyed on by violent sexual predators.
Here’s some video of that happening. (Warning: hard to watch)https://t.co/9WBDytnTYf
3. Southwest Key Programs (SWK) maintains facilities to jail children.
In June, Senator Merkeley (D-OR) tried to enter a facility and was turned away. SWK called the cops on him. https://t.co/2fLl3015nd
4. In August, Arizona moved to revoke the licenses of all 13 centers in the state.
This. Has. To. Stop. I’m sick. I feel rage.
These are CHILDREN. How can we allow this to happen in our name?
5. SWK enjoys tax-free nonprofit status, and was paid $458 million of our tax dollars in FY2018, and $1.7B over the past decade.
That's one private detention company – not including companies like CoreCivic or Geo Group. That's billions more tax dollars. https://t.co/5WKv3t1cMB
6. Their CEO, Juan Sanchez, has made millions off this manmade crisis, profiteering off of the incarceration of children.⁰⁰Simply put, our government awards contracts to jail babies using our money to subsidize. https://t.co/YnJpyrqFHl
7. SWK's mission statement is "opening doors to opportunity so individuals can achieve their dreams."
Dreams or nightmares? You decide.
Out of 13 SWK facilities in Arizona, 10 were found to have serious deficiencies. pic.twitter.com/d1TauRJbMs
8. But what prompted the hundreds of hours of investigation were allegations of vile sexual abuse.
On Sept 7 a SWK worker who was HIV+, was convicted of 10 counts of sex acts against the children he was tasked to "care" for.
Reread the last sentence.https://t.co/SG3wOXwW8A
9. Biggest problem? Employees didn't have a criminal background check completed. What kind of childcare facility can't be bothered to see if an employee is a sex offender? I'll tell you: one that doesn't care.
That's really what these documents show: No one cared.
10. AZ Dept of Health Services director Dr. Cara Christ wrote a scathing letter to SWK, shared here. Dr. Christ minced no words, telling SWK the report it provided "demonstrates your organization's inability and unwillingness to comprehend Arizona's most basic licensure laws.” pic.twitter.com/OhygX4wu9H
11. Since this letter, one of SWK's facilities has closed. Why? Because of *yet another* allegation of sexual abuse. And this time not by AZDHS, but by the US Dept of Health and Human Services (DHHS). AZDHS had already moved to revoke the licenses of all 13 SWK facilities.
12. Also, records suggest MCSO didn’t fully investigate child abuse claims at SWK Migrant Center.
The reports show neither the Southwest Key employees nor the minors involved were ever interviewed by law enforcement. https://t.co/rkbkx2fz5J
13. Why are we allowing children who are already traumatized, separated from their parents, incarcerated, and thrown into the arms of a predator to be groped, sodomized, and scarred for the rest of their lives?
I REPEAT—THEY ARE CHILDREN. pic.twitter.com/DqwQ8EHIkn
14. This is but only one dark corner of the evil system of jailing babies. And this is just one facility company.
There are over 12,000 imprisoned children in the US as I type this.
Where else are these abuses happening?
Feeling rage yet?
15. I need you to help me dismantle this system.
If you’re invested in private prisons—please divest.
Elected officials who work with/take from private prisons: Vote them out.
Call your reps.
If there’s a detention center near you, go visit & demand to be let in. Advocate.
16. You can also support groups like @ImmDef @VeraInstitute @RAICESTexas, and @AlOtroLado_Org. They are doing God’s work. Every day.
Donate money to help provide legal services to asylum seekers. https://t.co/lIfcYnuNCA
17. When I filed the FOIA I didn’t know what I’d find. I hoped I would find answers. And to a certain extent, I guess I did. I found my worst nightmares realized...CHILDREN are being physically, mentally and sexually abused in our custody in the name of US Immigration.
18. CHILDREN ARE NOT ILLEGAL. THEY ARE JUST KIDS.
Don’t turn a blind eye to what is happening right here—on our soil. Every child in the United States of America, regardless of where they are born, deserves the right to a happy and healthy childhood. Demand this of our country. pic.twitter.com/2V4Z3u1AhF
m i t h @ManInTheHoody
u did a foia? pic.twitter.com/vtrnLOf9tZ
Leah Weinberger @leahweinberger1
And found the truth. Which is something you could have done..
m i t h @ManInTheHoody
actually, no, i couldnt have done it. i dont know the first thing about making a foia request. i respect people that have this capacity and do the work.