Protesters disrupt Wyatt board meeting, demand they end their contract with ICE

Blackstone Valley

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — Hundreds of protesters once again gathered outside the Wyatt Detention Facility Friday evening, demanding the prison’s Board of Directors end its contract with immigration officials.

The Central Falls prison for months has been scrutinized for entering into an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold detainees while they await trial.

The protesters – led by a Jewish youth group called Never Again Action – are demanding the prison end the contract. They are also calling on Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo to outlaw the operation of private, for-profit prisons.

The protest started before the prison’s board met to discuss an updated forbearance agreement with its bondholders. The meeting – originally scheduled for Tuesday – was postponed until Friday, because prison officials said they expected a large crowd.

The protesters filed into the public meeting, packing the gymnasium inside the facility’s training building. As the meeting progressed, protesters began yelling and chanting over the board members as they tried to move through the agenda.

“Wyatt doesn’t get to solve its financial issues on the back of members of this community without a fight,” Protester Stephanie Gonzalez said.

“You can choose people over profits, history over hypocrisy,” Protester Matt Harvey added.

Spokesperson for Wyatt Chris Hunter tells Eyewitness News despite being interrupted several times, the board was able to finish their agenda and adjourn.

Police said no one was arrested during the protest nor during the meeting.

Hunter said the board will vote on the updated forbearance agreement during a meeting on Monday.

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