A Chancery Court judge ruled today that Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America has to follow the state’s public records laws and open their files for public viewing.
CCA, which operates the Metro Davidson County Detention Facility and six other detention facilities across the state, said they were a private company that did not have to comply with public records requests.
Alex Friedmann, vice president of the Private Corrections Institute and an adversary of a CCA attorney’s nomination to a federal judgeship, brought the lawsuit after the company denied a request for records about lawsuits and settlements they were part of.
Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ruled that CCA was a “functional equivalent” to a governmental entity, because their operation of jails and prisons are essential governmental functions and most of their revenues are taxpayer-funded.
Bonnyman ordered CCA to make all their records available for inspection during business hours so long as they still have them and they aren’t exempted from public records laws because of court orders or seals.
CCA attorney Joe Welborn said they plan to appeal the ruling.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
When you talked to Senator Barack Obama, what did he say?
He said in his first year as president he will bring immigration reform to the very forefront and that he will not run away from the issue if it gets politically uncomfortable. That’s the key. I asked him about Hutto. I looked him straight in the eye, and said, ‘I’m from Texas, there are prisons for profit that are holding families who do not have any documents. There are American children who are behind bars because Homeland Security put them there.’ He said, ‘I will address that issue as soon as I get elected President. We’re going to take care of those issues.’ He was very serious on the fact that he would make a change in immigration during his presidency.
And did you get the same feeling from McCain?
I asked him the same question and McCain said, ‘I cannot address that right now, until I become President. But that issue is not an issue that has a lot of support.’
That’s all he said?
What about the millions of immigrant workers and families in America? Are they not support?
He said he won’t address it until people start pushing the issue. But right now he can’t do anything about it. There is not question in my heart and those that heard Obama speak that he is speaking to the bread and butter issues that we need to change in America.
So do you think as the Latino community begins to rise and become more and more important in voting, do you think issues like Hutto will be brought to the forefront?
Definitely. We made [Hutto] an issue with LULAC’s press conference, now there are many organizations all over the United States supporting us. Our people are the largest growing population in America. We are making a difference and that’s why [candidates] are courting us. I believe that’s also why they are making it so difficult to get citizenship. They don’t want us to vote. The want to make it so difficult for us to become citizens and for us to vote, because once we vote, we’re going to have a brown-faced president in the United States in the future.
So what we are seeing with Hutto and immigrant criminalization is like the Jim Crow laws?
Yes. Those laws are racist and deprive people of their rights. No taxation without representation. So once we have legal taxation, we’re going to have legal representation, not only in the school boards, but in state legislation to governors to the Presidency of the United States.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Last week, Grassroots Leadership, Southwest Workers Union, No Wall-Big Bend, and PODER protested outside of Rep. Ciro Rodriguez's office in San Antonio. Congressman Rodriguez had signed onto the SAVE Act, a bill that would increase family detention beds, expand immigration detention, and implement enforcement-only "solutions" to current inadequacies in the immigration system. The protestors demanded that Rodriguez reverse his support for the SAVE Act. (Photo courtesy of http://swunion.org/blog.html)
Thursday, July 17, 2008
- Lack of due process and violations of attorney-client privilege.
- The use of physical threats and intimidation to force detainees to sign papers.
- Mistreatment of detainees by guards and federal marshalls.
- Inadequate medical care, esp. emergency care.
- Inadequate treatment of mentally ill, esp. refugees who had been persecuted in their homelands.
- Insufficient quantities of food and incidents of food poisoning.
- Poor living conditions due to severe overcrowding.
- Language barriers to detainees.
Monday, July 7, 2008
. . .Within hours of the declaration of war on Japan, all Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans who were in the US were branded"alien enemies." Of the 120,000 men, women, elderly, and children of Japanese ancestry sent to interment camps, more than 60% were native-born citizens. According to the US Department of Justice's "Review of the Restrictions on Persons of Italian Ancestry During World War II: Report to the Congress of the United States," within a few days after President issued Proclamations 2525, 2526 and 2527, 500 aliens of different ancestries were on a train with darkened windows bound for an undisclosed location in Montana.
While most historical comparisons concerning immigration and race before and after 9/11 focus on the incarceration of Japanese Americans, the relevance of Mexican Repatriation remains vitally important for us to remember. Over the last century, migrant workers have been the most exploited class of workers in America. The concept of a guest worker program in this country is not new. More than 72,000 guest workers participated in the program from 1917 to 1921. In 1924, the government to discontinue the program and created the United States Border Patrol to locate and remove all non-citizens illegally. By 1931, it was time for the Mexicans to depart.
During the Mexican Repatriation of the 1930s, approximately 60 percent deported to Mexico were US citizens, including children born on the US. Both local and federal authorities did not consider the rights of the numerous citizens whom they deported. . . .
The current fervor against immigrant groups is eerily reminiscent to the anti-Mexican sentiments of the 1930s. FBI reports on domestic hate crimes after 2001 indicate that such crimes against Latinas and Latinos surged from 2003 to 2006. . .
Most people overlook the degree to which racial stereotypes might influence the public's perception on the targeted ethnic/racial group, in this case, Latina/os. Of the few articles written about the raids conducted by ICE, one could easily come to the conclusion that Latina/os continue to be coded in ways that conflate their identities with immigrants or foreigners, which means they would be presumptively subjected to immigration laws. . .
For the time being, the tenor of the current immigration debate has thus far not changed significantly since Mexican Repatriation or the interment of Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans. Too many non-Latino Americans believe that we are in the mist of an invasion that will lead to economic plight and crime-ridden streets. Political leaders and the media need to examine the facts and speak out.
As a nation, we must be most careful in times of severe national stress and not repeat the sins of the past. The true test of human progress is whether we have the wisdom to see our faults and the strength to acknowledge them. Until we admit this, perhaps legitimate discussions concerning safety and economic growth will lead to an honest approach to immigration reform.
Friday, July 4, 2008
The Detention Watch Network has released a new and improved interactive map of immigration detention. The map includes detention centers, community organizations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Offices, and Immigration Courts. A fantastic resource for public education!
Click here to learn more about immigrant detention.