This week, a sign-on letter was publicly delivered to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. The letter, signed by 37 national and Texas-based organizations, calls for the immediate closure of the Polk County Detention Center. This facility, run by for-profit private prison company Community Education Centers, was highlighted on a list of ten of amongst the worst in the nation by Detention Watch Network due to the inhuman conditions revealed in a November 2012 report by Grassroots Leadership and Texans United for Families. The letter states that"
"ICE should prioritize release of immigrants into alternatives to detention and community support programs that are far more humane, less costly, and are effective at ensuring immigrants are able to appear at their hearings. As a first step toward ending inhumane detention, we call for the closure of the IAH Polk County Secure Adult Detention Center."
The diverse list of signatories includes Catholic Charities of Central Texas; Presbyterian Health, Education, and Welfare Association; the United Methodist Church, General Board of Church in Society; Detention Watch Network; the Texas Civil Rights Project; and both supporting organizations of this site. A press release about the letter is available here.
Texas Prison Bid'ness has been covering the campaign to close the detention center in Polk for months now, including a protest in December that drew over 100 community members from Houston and Austin. We'll keep you updated as this story develops.