“What happens if you privatize prisons is that you have a large industry with a vested interest in building ever-more prisons.” -- Molly Ivins, 2003

Tacoma Hunger Strike spreads to Texas

Inspired by the hunger strike in Tacoma, two days ago immigrants detained at the Joe Corley detention center in Conroe, Texas began a hunger strike. 

An attorney who spoke with the detained men on March 17 confirmed the following demands: that deportations be halted; detainees be treated justly; stop overcrowding in the cells; end to double judgement for old cases; more nutritious food; better medical care; lower calling prices and better prices in the commissary. 

The strikers' demands at both facilities show the sytemic abuse and neglect on the part of GEO Group, which operates both prisons, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). They also wish to emphasize the inhumane nature of the industry in which they are trapped, which places profits ahead of human rights and welfare. Those striking at Joe Corley are facing denial of their asylum cases and force feedings. In spite of that, those at Tacoma have issued words of encouragement for their friends in Texas. 

 

CEC Snatches Contract with Burnet County Jail

The Burnet County and those involved with the operation of the Burnet County Jail have entered into a verbal agreement with New Jersey’s Community Education Centers (CEC). CEC will begin operating the facility on April 1. 

County officials, bondholders and the Public Facility Corporation, which provides funding for the jail, and CEC negotiated the contract on Wednesday at the Burnet County Courthouse. The official process of signing contracts could begin on Friday, provided that there is no dissent.

CEC has employees who are observing procedures at the jail. The facility has been run  by Southwest Corrections since 2008. Southwest Corrections’ contract expires on March 31.

Navy Flight School grad dies at Coastal Bend Detention Center

young man’s death  at the LCS-operated Coastal Bend Detention Center is causing quite a stir among law enforcement officials. 26-year old Trevor Nash, who allegedly committed suicide at the facility, had recently graduated from the Navy’s flight school at NAS -Corpus Christi. 

Sheriff Jim Kaelin received a call on Saturday, March 1, from the warden at the LCS facility. The warden reported that an incarcerated man, Nash, attempted suicide by hanging himself with a bedsheet. Nash was then transported to Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital. Nash was due to transfer to helicopter training school when he was arrested and charged with piracy.The death, currently ruled a suicide, is being investigated by the Nueces County Sheriff’s office. Detectives working for the sheriff’s office were refused entry into the facility by the U.S. Marshals Service, who claimed that the Texas Rangers would investigate the young man’s death.Sheriff Jim Kaelin had this to say:"The private prison LCS is under our charge, and we're responsible for the things that go on out there," Kaelin said. "Meaning that the U.S. Marshals service mandate that we make sure that we comply with rules, regulations and law." The Sheriff contacted the U.S. Marhsals in Houston in an attempt to find out why The Texas Rangers will be leading the investigation and not the sheriff’s office. No response has been received as of yet.

CEC: Officer Allegedly brings Contraband into Jail

A correctional officer at the Liberty County Jail, operated by Community Education Centers (CEC), was arrested on March 15 for allegedly bringing contraband into the facility, according to the Liberty County Vindicator ("Jailer Arrested for Allegedly Bringing Contraband into the Jail" 3/17). 

Following a routine "shakedown," or search of prisoners' cells and correctional officers for contraband items, which only resulted in minor violations, officer Tyree Richards, 26, came into work late. Before being searched to allow him entrance into the jail, Richards visited the restroom, which had already been searched for contraband. CEC Seargant Luther Burks, upon entering that same restroom, discovered five packages of tobacco in the trash. A joint investigation by the Liberty County Sheriff's Department and the facility determined that Richards had indeed brought the tobacco into the jail, a delivery for which he would have been paid $100. 

Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader weighed in on the situation as well: 

Contraband is an issue for every jail facility. I commend Warden Carnes and her supervisors for staying on top of the issue. While the tobacco itself might not seem like a big concern to some, the fact that a jailer's integrity had been compromised and he could then be made to bring in other items, including safaty threats, is a major issue that needed to be dealt with immediately. 

 

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