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School Board Rejects Hutto Contract; CCA Continues to Work on Reputation

According to recent reports in the Taylor Daily Press, the Taylor Independent School Board (TISD) has rejected an agreement with the T. Don Hutto Immigrant Detention Center. The agreement would have permitted immigrant detainees to be housed in the old middle school gymnasium in the event of an emergency.

The Hutto facility is managed by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Hutto officials are trying to lay the groundwork for an eventual agreement to be reached between the private prison company and school officials.

Several board members including President James “Bo” Stiles, Assistant Secretary Kathy Cotner and Anita Volek, along with Superintendent Bruce Scott and Assistant Superintendent David Krueger, were given a private tour of the facility May 1.

Volek said she was impressed with the facility, its school and the children in it.

“It puts us between a rock and a hard place, because we’re all about kids, too,” she said.

Hutto officials are making a case for why it is ok to house detainees at the school. Ironically, its the same argument for why these people should not be incarcerated at all.

[Hutto Facility Adminstrator Evenlyn] Hernandez stressed that the individuals housed in the facility are non-criminals, and that the CCA screens potential occupants with a background check before they are housed there. Those found to have a criminal history are not placed in the facility, she said.

As TISD board members become more familiar with the private prison, I fear that they will become more receptive to contracts with CCA around the Hutto facility. It is certainly something we will be monitoring as developments progress.