Press Release: T. Don Hutto Contract Risky Business
12/18/2008Press Release:T Don Hutto Contract Risky Business
Opponents to the T Don Hutto prison for non-criminal immigrant families and children located in Taylor, Texas, have consistently protested its basic inhumane conception and operation.The United States’ Congress has ordered that non-criminal immigrant families awaiting disposition of requests for citizenship applications and/or asylum be detained in the “least restrictive” manner possible.T Don Hutto is a former medium-security prison that fails this standard, they maintain.Additionally, the lack of any governmental oversight for T Don Hutto has lead to documented abuse, including the sexual assault of a female prisoner by her guard, in the presence of her young child.
With the dramatic decline in the American economy, and a major change in the political climate, opponents point out that Williamson County Commissioners Court (WCCC) should refuse to renew its contractual role in that operation on the grounds that it is a risky business deal.The prison is owned and run by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), funded (at a cost of nearly $3 million per month) by Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), on a pass-through contract with WCCC, in which the County is paid $1 per day per prisoner for its role as “contract administrator,” potentially amounting to around $15,000 per month at capacity.
Opponents contend that CCA is no longer a strong business partner, given the almost certain decline of funds available for this costly approach; effective alternatives are available at a fraction of the cost of running T Don Hutto.Growth of immigrant detention had previously been assumed to assure CCA a strong financial future; that assumption, according to opponents, no longer is reliable. Recent, dramatic, reduction in stock value and the uncertainty of future profits raises the question of capacity to perform on the contract at a responsible level, they say.
ICE’s future, they point out, is questionable as well, with some speculation that it may even be moved from the Department of Homeland Security to the Commerce Department.Incoming President Obama has pledged to deal effectively with the lack of comprehensive immigration reform in his first year in office, indicting that the past policy of detention during processing will not comprise the major strategy.In any case, it is not unlikely that ICE will have a different model of operation in the near future.
Therefore, they argue, the other two parties to this proposed renewal contract are not the same strong business partners in place at the time of the original agreement, withonly WCCC’s strength remaining as it was at that time of the original agreement.
Adding to that imbalance, monitoringof the facility ordered under Judge Sparks’ settlement agreement as a result of lawsuits brought against the operation will lapse in August of 2009, leaving a void in that essential function.This lack, say the opponents, increasesthe risk that conditions that led to that lawsuit will re-emerge.This, in their view, increases the possibility of greater responsibility and legal risk to WCCC and County taxpayers.
T Don Hutto opponent MaryEllen Kersch contends that “under any realistic assessment ofthe business risks this renewal poses to the citizens of Williamson County, WCCC should decline to partner in the renewal of the contract.”
WCCC is scheduled to vote on the renewal at its December 23rd meeting at the courthouse in Georgetown.
Dignity Not Detention Vigil | T. Don Hutto Detention Center | Taylor, TX. | 7pm, Saturday, August 7th, 2010. See post.
What is T Don Hutto?
The T Don Hutto facility held men, women (some pregnant), children, and infants from May 2006 to September 2009. Administered by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the country's largest for-profit corrections company, the center now holds around 500 adult women, many of whom are seeking asylum.
The Berks County Family Care Shelter still detains families. We continue to advocate for an end to family detention policy.
ICE champions the facility as a model for "civil" detention, despite patterns of sexual abuse and the continued detention of low-risk noncitizen women.
This blog is dedicated to providing information about Hutto and women's detention issues.
100 Events in 100 Days to End Family Detention
We did it! People like you came together and organized over 100 events to end family detention in Obama's first 100 days. Our online petition has over 55,000 signatures and counting! Our deepest gratitude!
Thanks to your support, ICE ended family detention at Hutto in September of 2009. The facility now holds exclusively women. We continue to advocate for their rights to due process, fair immigration proceedings, and non-penal custody.
Click here for a list of detention facilities across the U.S.
Related Blogs and Links
America's Family Prison a short film chronicling the rise of Hutto and its impact on detainees and the local community
The Least of These a feature-length documentary that follows the implementation of family detention at Hutto, the lawsuit, and protests against the facility. Premiered at Austin's South-by-Southwest Film Festival in March of 2009.
A grassroots effort of pro-migrant, human-rights, and civil-rights bloggers and on-line activists dedicated to the enactment of meaningful immigration reform that is practical, rational, fair, and humane.
Homeland Gitmos Follow an investigation of detainee treatment in American detention centers. An interactive website, complete with videos, detainee testimonies, photos, maps, and more.
Business of Detention an exciting new interactive website examining the link between federal immigration policy and the corporations that are profiting off it Detention Watch Network a national coalition dedicated to tracking immigrant detention issues