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October 2007

Williamson County votes to end Hutto contract!!!

This morning, Williamson County voted to end its contract with CCA's Hutto detention center. Here's the story from the Statesman:

GEORGETOWN - Williamson County commissioners voted today to terminate their contract with the company that operates the controversial T. Don Hutto Residential Center in one year.

The 512-bed Taylor center is one of two in the country that detains children and families while they await outcomes of asylum petitions or deportation. It's operated by a private firm, Corrections Corp. of America.

Saying that the facility has become a liability for the county, commissioners voted to give notice to CCA that the county will end the contract within one year, effective today.

Protesters have decried what they say is the wrongful imprisonment of children at the center. But federal officials say the facility provides a humane way to keep families together while they are in immigration proceedings.

The county's contract with CCA, in which the county receives a fee for each person housed at the facility, had previously been set to expire Jan. 31, 2009.

We'll keep you updated with the details, but for now we're celebrating!

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TYC Closes GEO's Coke County Facility

The Austin American Statesman reported yesterday that the Texas Youth Commission will close the Coke County Juvenile Justice Center in Bronte siting unsanitary and unsafe conditions at the facility. According to the article:

"Detainees will be transferred from the Coke County center, in Bronte, to other TYC facilities on Tuesday. The facility holds 197 young offenders, said TYC spokesman Jim Hurley. "TYC's number one priority is the safety and well being of those youths under our care," Dimitria D. Pope, the agency's acting executive director, said in a statement.

"The unsafe conditions I witnessed at Coke County this weekend are unacceptable. We have zero tolerance for any form of abuse within the system, and those responsible parties will be held accountable."

A TYC official found unsanitary conditions during a visit to center on Sept. 24. State officials followed up with an unannounced audit that began Wednesday and continued through the weekend, the Texas Youth Commission said Monday in a statement.

The audit found the facility was in an advanced state of disrepair and rehabilitation and other programs weren't being pursued, leaving detainees mostly constrained. It led officials to believe the health and safety of the youth housed at the center was in jeopardy, Hurley said."

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