Griffith, a US citizen, soon found herself trying to navigate a system she had never encountered before. "I was networking with people through Facebook and reading articles trying to see what I could do," she says. "I called ten or 12 different attorneys. Nobody wanted to take it. I had several tell me, 'Stewart is so far away. It's out in the middle of nowhere.'"
"I guess if I had been wealthy, I could have fought it. But the system's not designed for everyday people."—Kimberly Griffith
In response to a March letter listing such complaints, ICE officials said lawyers' recommendations for improvement were being "actively researched and reviewed." They noted that rules regarding attorney visits were posted in the waiting area, and that the phones had since been fixed.CoreCivic has not responded to the letter. In an email, spokesman Jonathan Burns wrote that "attorneys can visit detainees at any time during visiting hours, unscheduled, by presenting a proper photo ID and verification of bar admission. No time limit is placed on these visits." He denied that phones had been inoperable or that attorneys are unable to schedule calls with their clients.
"When people aren't represented, how can you do a fair job?"—Paul Wickham Schmidt