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Hutto Contract Update

Following the lead of the Statesman and other news outlets yesterday, we reported that the Williamson County Commissioners Court had voted to terminate its contract for the T. Don Hutto immigration prison within a year.

Turns out we may all have been a little ahead of ourselves.

After speaking with someone in the county judge's office and a few reporters, we've figured out that yesterday the county actually directed the County Attorney to draft a letter to the government indicating termination of contract.

The County Commission will vote on the termination letter next Tuesday, October 9, at their 9:30am meeting. Local activists are encouraging all concerned residents to attend.

According to the San Antonio Express-News:

County commissioners will make the departure official when they vote to approve the contract-termination letter next week.

There's also the question of whether the prison will actually close if the county votes to terminate the contract next week. Again from the Express-News:

Even with the county out of the picture, the lockup is not necessarily going to be shuttered. The government would have to scramble to keep CCA in its current role or put bids out for other companies, as well as look for another administrator.

Several sources have indicated that the city of Taylor may attempt to act as the "go-between" and the contract. From KLBJ News:

County Judge Dan Gattis, Sr. says the county’s decision to remove itself as the administrator or “go between” for the facility does not mean T Don Hutto will stop operating a year from today. ICE can continue running the facility either with just a private jail firm, such as CCA. The judge says if the federal agency wants to continue having a local governmental agency involved, the city of Taylor is eligible to fill that role.

Still, this is undeniably a great step in the struggle to close Hutto. We should be proud of what we’ve accomplished as a movement, and now work even harder to get this prison, a true moral failure, closed once and for all.

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Hutto was built as a maximum security prison and, after required inspections, can probably resume that role or move to a minimum lock-up. GEO is probably involved in the bidding process. CCA & GEO have been swapping out facilities for several years now to resolve such crises. So I would expect to see Coke County sign with CCA and Williamson County to go with GEO. ICE & Justice are both part of Homeland Security, so there is no problem in the juggling act that will ensue. Of course, there are newer ICE facilities where these families can be transferred, such as the new GEO facility in Louisiana, one coming in Florida, etc. Unfortunately, the profit motive for these private prisons is choking state and national government and leading to the neglect of incarcerated populations. Sorry for preaching to the choir here but I'm certain that most people who come to this blog are probably aware that if a "national state of emergency" is ever declared we of the left will undoubtedly become the next population to serve the economic designs of these corporatists. Hell, we may even cause a 2-for-1 split on Wall Street. I'm so glad I learned to meditate years ago - it will help make the experience a monastic one. BTW, great job of reporting, Bob. I come here often for the scoop on prison bid'ness. -cliff

Could you tell me if GEO and CCA are owned by the same parent company, or where I can find this information. We are a law firm in Louisiana that has been appointed by a federal judge to represent several inmates at a facility ran by CCA.  Can you help or lead me in the right direction