Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Williamson Co. to Vote on Hutto Contract 12/23

Williamson County Judge Gattis announced this morning (12/16/08) that the vote on the proposed renewal of the contract(s) with CCA/DHS to operate T Don Hutto Detention Facility will take place on December 23 at the Williamson County Commissioners Court's weekly meeting.

After that announcement, several citizens spoke against the renewal, and WCCC was reminded that:


  1. Putting families in prison for infractions comparable to running a stop sign is “inappropriate.” 
  2. The lack of oversight and assurance of humane treatment for families held at T Don Hutto is alarming, and contradicted by our national sense of right and wrong, ---and does serious emotional damage to the young prisoners who end up gaining American citizenship. 
  3. Communities that locate a prison in their borders suffer immense long-term economic damage because “clean” economic growth avoids them. The uglier the facility, the greater the damage.
  4. There are alternatives to locking up babies and families, and they are proven to be less expensive-- and just as effective.  But they provide no profit for the prison industry.


So, between now and the eve of Christmas Eve, it is essential that those who opposing contract renewal:


1.  Contact anyone in the county hierarchy who might be able to help us; certainly the WCCC members, but also anyone who could talk to them with good audience.--minister, friends, family  members, etc.  WCCC contact info can be found atwww.wiliamson-county.org.


2.  Write letters to the editor to the Williamson County Sun, Austin American-Statesman, Austin Chronicle, or other newspaper; contact your local TV affiliate station's news department.  Ask for folks to join our effort on the blogs and email lists.


3  Consider getting a few other supporters to go with you to visit with your Williamson County commissioner--or go on your own; small settings can work far better than large, public ones because the commissioner needn't be defensive of the issue.


4.  Come to Saturday, December 20 vigil in front of the Hutto facility from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. to show support and generate more. (see next post)


5.  Attend the December 23 WCCC meeting that starts at 9:30 a.m.; come early ( CCA often tries to pack the place before it starts), bring others, and seriously consider speaking.  Write a three-minute speech to deliver.


The new faces and voices who have recently come out against the contract renewal have had a huge impact.  We can’t lapse now; let’s celebrate Christmas with the gift of an end to imprisoning innocent families and babies in Williamson County ----in Texas----in the United States of America.

For more information, to share ideas, and to get involved, contact MaryEllen Kersch, maryellenkersch [at] verizon [dot] net,  512-863-7174.