House Democrats subpoena private prison operator in forced hysterectomy case

Nov 25, 2020
In The News

The House Oversight and Reform and the Homeland Security committees on Wednesday subpoenaed the head of the private prison company that operates a detention center where women were allegedly sent to receive unwanted gynecological procedures.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of Homeland Security panel, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the Oversight panel, issued the subpoena for LaSalle Corrections Executive Director Rodney Cooper to appear before the committees on Dec. 9.

“Despite the seriousness of the allegations taking place at their facility, LaSalle has stonewalled our Committees since we began our investigation in September,” Thompson and Maloney said in a statement.

“They have provided us no documents, refused to share their contract with ICE, and have consistently fed us conflicting information," they added.

The accusations against LaSalle, stemming from a whistleblower complaint at the Irwin County, Ga., detention center, allege that more than 43 immigrant detainees received unwarranted or unwanted treatment, including hysterectomies that left some of them sterile.

The Department of Justice on Tuesday filed a consent motion in court, agreeing to hold the deportation of detainees involved in the case while investigations are concluded.

Since the whistleblower allegations were made public in September, Democratic lawmakers have unsuccessfully sought further information on the case, according to Thompson and Maloney.

"LaSalle has refused to take even the most minimal steps to comply with the Committees’ requests for documents, and company employees have provided conflicting information to the Committees about its steps to locate and preserve documents," they wrote in a letter to Cooper accompanying the subpoena.

Representatives for LaSalle could not be reached for comment, as the company does not list contact information publicly.