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ICE Letter to Williamson County Raises Issues

Williamson County has been discussing terminating its contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Corrections Corporation of America to operate the T. Don Hutto detention center. Several news reports indicated that a letter from ICE this spring had brought about the discussion of contract termination.

We've obtained a copy of this letter and attached it as a PDF (sorry about the quality; it's a scan of a fax). The letter, dated May 23 and addressed to County Judge Dan A. Gattis, is signed by ICE contracting officer Susan D. Erickson. It starts (emphasis mine),

This letter is in response to an incident involving inappropriate sexual relationship between a Correction Corporation of America (CCA) employee and a resident of T. Don Hutto Residential Facility (sic). The Office of Detention and Removal Operations reported that during the weekend of May 19 and 20, 2007 a CCA employee had in appropriate with ICE Detention Standards and procedures as require under the IGSA.

The letter outlines a series of corrective actions that must have taken place within 10 days of receipt of the letter including an explanation of why CCA's laser monitoring system was not in use at the time of the "inappropriate sexual relationship" and mandatory staff training on maintaining appropriate sexual relationships with detainees.

The letter goes on to say that two other incidents in which CCA contracted with workers not legally authorized to work at the prison. I don't know what that means, and the letter doesn't explain it.

Needless to say, a sexual relationship between a staff member and a detainee is always cause for concern, but is certainly even more so when the detention center is holding children against their will. As far as the news media has been able to tell, no charges have been pressed against anyone in the case, and full details of the incident remain murky.

Nevertheless, the incident was serious enough that ICE sent this letter to Williamson County. The letter also suggests that ICE believes that Williamson County holds liability for Hutto, even if CCA's lawyers are trying to convince the county otherwise.

AttachmentSize
PDF icon ICE letter to WillCo I.pdf752.21 KB
PDF icon ICE Letter to Willco II.pdf407.88 KB
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