Immigration Detention

Former Hutto supervisor pleads guilty to federal charges of molesting detained women

A former Corrections Corporation of America supervisor at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor has pled guilty to federal charges of sexually molesting detained women as they were being transported to the Austin airport.  According to the Statesman blog post (Claire Osborn, "Former worker at detention center pleads guilty to molesting women," September 7, 2011) on the story,

"A former residential supervisor at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor pleaded guilty this week to molesting women he was transporting them from the center to the airport or bus terminal.

Donald Dunn pleaded guilty to two federal deprivation of rights charges, according to a press release from the U.S. attorney’s office.

Dunn admitted to touching illegal female immigrants “in a sexual manner” between December 2009 and May 2010, the release said. He said that he would stop the vehicle along the way, order them to get out and convince them he was conducting a legitimate search, it said.

Dunn has not been sentenced but faces up to one year in federal prison and a fine of up to $100,000 for each charge, the release said."

Dunn has already served a year in state prison for the crimes.  See our previous coverage of sexual abuse at Hutto:

TCJS head Adan Muñoz criticizes speculative private jails in Texas Tribune interview

The Texas Tribune's Brandi Grissom sat down Texas Commission on Jails Standards chief Adan Muñoz for an interview covering jail overcrowding, privatization, and other aspects of Texas' enormous county jail system (Brandi Grissom, "Adan Muñoz: The TT Interview," August 3).  It's no wonder that Muñoz is one of our favorite Texas officials.  Here's his reponse to a question about privately operated jails:

"They’ll build the facility above and beyond what is projected for the county's needs... so that they can house either federal inmates or out-of-state inmates in order to generate a profit. What we have been seeing lately, over probably the last year and a half to two years, is a diminishing of those select inmates that are out there for profit. So you've got these facilities that are built and financed by local governments... to bring in extra money for their communities at a time where those inmates were out there and available for these facilities. That's not the case anymore. A certain facility just went up for auction last week in this state, where that facility just basically got abandoned by the private vendor who says, "We’re not making any money, we’re moving." They can notify them and give them 60, 90 days, 30 days notification — whatever it is — and they’re gone. So the facility basically has to fall out of compliance or shut down. It’s a risky situation."

Munoz was also skeptical about proposals floated to privatize Harris County's massive jail system:

"If you run a small jail — when I say small jail, that's anywhere from 7 to 25 prisoners — your daily incarceration may be 7 or 8. So, are you better off shipping them off to the county next door rather than carrying the liability? Certainly. But when you have 11,000 prisoners like Harris County, it's real tough to get out of the jail business. For example, I know that Harris County has spoken of privatization. You really don’t have, in my opinion, you don’t have very many privates trying to do business with Harris, because where is their profit margin going to come from? I mean, if you have a $30 million debt of overtime you encumber or you accept as part of the privatization, where is your profit margin going to come from?"

Read the entire interview and watch the video here.

Immigrants for Sale: The Private Prison Industry & Immigration

Immigrants for Sale is a new website that is dedicated to exposing the links between the private prison industry and anti-immigrant laws.  They launched a few months ago with this video, which is well worth a watch.

 

Detention Watch Network releases date on private prison influence on immigration detention

TSource: Detention Watch NetworkSource: Detention Watch Networkhe Detention Watch Network has released some terrific data and graphs on the private prison industry's role in the United States' immigrant detention system.  (Full disclosure: I'm on the Steering Committee of DWN, and Grassroots Leadership helped compile this research).  Amongst the interesting findings, 49% of all immigrant detention beds in the United States are operated by private prison corporations. That is higher percentage of privatized beds than nearly any other state or federal agency.

Texas has more private immigrant detention beds - more than 10,000 - than any other state.  Furthermore, some of the largest immigrant detention centers in the country are in Texas, including MTC's Willacy County Processing Center and GEO Group's South Texas Detention Center. The report includes a complete breakdown of every major private detention center by average daily population.

Furthermore, the report tracks the federal lobbying and influence exerted by the private prison industry to ensure its  interests are met.  According to the report:

"Between the five corporations with ICE contracts for which official federal lobbying records are currently available, the total expenditure on lobbying for 1999-2009 was $20,432,000.(1) In general, corporations lobbied both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Most companies also lobbied the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The larger corporations (CCA and GEO) lobbied a variety of entities related to immigration policy, including the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Office of Management and Budget. Both CCA and GEO reported lobbying ICE directly."

The full report and data are well worth a read.  Check them out here.

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