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November 2011

Who will stop abuse at MTC's Willacy detention center after contract change?

Last month, PBS's Frontline aired a damning exposé of the immigration detention system that focused on MTC's Willacy County Processing Center

The show, which you can watch online in its entirity, reported a pattern of sexual and physical abuse by guards at the MTC facility.  Frontline correspondent, Maria Hinojosa, highlights stories of terrifying and repetitive abuse and harrassment of immigrant detainees at the facility.

The stories come from several former detainees and employees of the facility. Consider these quotes from the show's transcript:

GEO Group hiring in anticipation of opening Karnes Civil Detention Center

The GEO Group is hiring in anticipation of opening its Karnes County Civil Detention Ce

nter in Karnes City, according to an article in the South Texas usiness Journal (James Aldridge, "GEO Group to hire 400 positions in South Texas," November 17):

"Workforce Solutions Alamo is hosting a job fair in Floresville, Texas, to help GEO Group  to fill 400 jobs just south of San Antonio.

The company is building a new facility in Kenedy, Texas, and needs to fill open and available positions. Interested applicants should visit to see a list of available jobs. The job fair will be held at the Floresville Workforce Center on Nov. 29 from noon to 7 p.m. The pay range for the positions ranges from $9 per hour to $70,000 per year."

The facility is actually under construction and is just outside of Karnes City, and not Kenedy. It would be interesting to see which of the positions pay $9 an hour. 

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Was CCA letter sent to Governor's office attempt to lessen worries about cell phones at Mineral Wells?

For years, a steady stream of reports have plagued Corrections Corporation of America's Mineral Wells Pre-parole Transfer Center.  They have included prisoner injuries requiring hospitalization to reports of inappropriate sexual behavior between guards and prisoners, excessive use of force (including chemical spray) by guards, and at least one prisoner uprising.

By far the most common report coming out of the facility was the introduction of contraband - specifically cell phones - being thrown over the prison gates.  In fact, in 2008 alone, we reported four separate arrests of individuals throwing cell phones into the prison.  Mineral Wells was floated as a possible facility closure back in 2010, but avoided the ax and in fact was awarded a new contract in August of this year.

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LCS's Coastal Bend stops taking local prisoners, escapes Jail Commission oversight

LCS Corrections
LCS Corrections
This story in the Nueces County Record Star  (Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., "Coastal Bend Detention Center moves county inmates," November 4) caught my eye over the weekend:

"Texas Commission on Jail Standards officials recently said the organization is powerless to oversee any changes at the Coastal Bend Detention Center in Robstown, after center officials decided to move out all of their county prisoners.

Adan Munoz Jr., Executive Director of the TCJS said he was notified last week that LCS Corrections Services Inc., owners of the CBDC, asked for the detention center to be pulled off the state's inspection rolls, as they would no longer house county inmates."

Commission on Jail Standards holds hearings this week; Webcasts now available

Diana Claitor at the Texas Jail Project forwarded us an email stating that the Texas Commission on Jail Standards will begin broadcasting its workshops and quarterly meetings as live webcasts.  The first such workshop is this afternoon at 2pm.  According to the email from TCJS, the purpose of today's hearing is:

"The Texas Commission on Jail Standards will re-engage its initiative to update some changes to minimum jail standards. We want as much interaction with all stakeholders throughout the process, and so the TCJS Commission will begin meeting in workshop session on November 2, 2011 at 2pm in the John Reagan building, room 120 to discuss proposed changes.  The initial workshop session will be to discuss procedures and process."

Tomorrow morning, the Commission will hold its quarterly meeting to review jail compliance and other issues tomorrow, November 3, 2011 at 9am.  Both hearings will be viewable via webcast at