Judge: Prison company to pay Washington $4.5M in legal fees

December 14, 2021 GMT

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The private prison company The GEO Group has been ordered to pay the Washington state Attorney General’s Office nearly $4.5 million in legal fees, after the state sued to force the company to pay detainees at its immigration lockup in Tacoma minimum wage for work they perform there.

A federal jury ruled in October that detainees held at the Northwest detention center are entitled to minimum wage for cooking, cleaning and other tasks, rather than $1 per day.

The company was ordered to pay former detainees as well as the state more than $23 million in all.

The judgments have been put on hold while GEO appeals, but in the meantime U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan on Tuesday awarded the state nearly $4.5 million in attorney fees.