Exhibition & Events

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

NJ: States of Incarceration Newark Opening

Hawa Jama
Time: 
6PM to 8PM
Venue: 

Project for Empty Space
2 Gateway Center,
Newark, NJ 07102

Description: 

In the mid-1990s, as concerns about terrorism and growing numbers of asylum seekers rose, the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) contracted Esmor Correctional Services to open a detention facility in Elizabeth, NJ. After detainees’ complaints about inhumane conditions and a hunger strike were ignored, nearly 100 detainees, mostly men from Africa, “rioted” in June 1995, breaking furniture and windows. An assessment by INS discovered that “detainees were subjected to harassment, verbal abuse, and other degrading actions perpetrated by Esmor guards” who had been poorly trained and supervised. Soon after, Somalian asylum seeker Hawa Jama and 9 other detainees became plaintiffs in Jama v. Esmor Correctional Services, the first time detainees were given the right to sue a private corporation. The 2007 settlement awarded damages to the plaintiffs. The hunger strike, uprising and lawsuit illustrate ways that detainees have protested the conditions of their detention.

Time: 
6PM to 8PM
Venue: 

Project for Empty Space
2 Gateway Center,
Newark, NJ 07102