“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

ICE: Hutto to stop detaining families; no new family detention centers

It's all the news today; CCA's notorious T. Don Hutto detention center will stop holding immigrant families.  According to the New York Times ("U.S. to Reform Policy on Detention for Immigrants," August 6th)

"[T]he government will stop sending families to the T. Don Hutto Residential Center, a former state prison near Austin, Tex., that drew an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit and scathing news coverage for putting young children behind razor wire. ...

The decision to stop sending families there - and to set aside plans for three new family detention centers - is the Obama administration's clearest departure from its predecessor's immigration enforcement policies."

Although the facility will continue to hold immigrant women, this is a huge victory for the movement to end family detention as it substantially shrinks the immigrant family detention system, and takes the new family detention centers off the table.  We'll have more updates in the coming days, but in the meantime check out the T. Don Hutto blog or these sources:

"Just-Unveiled Immigration Detention Policies Are Excellent First Step," Women's Refugee Commission, August 6th

"Hutto detention center to change direction," Austin American-Statesman, August 6th

Texas Southern's private prison conference this week

Texas Southern University's Barbara Jordan Institute's long-awaited conference on the private prison industry will be held later this week, Thursday, August 6th, through Saturday, August 8th.  Confirmed conference speakers include: 

Judy Greene, Justice Strategies and Texas Prison Bid'ness founder

Si Kahn, Grassroots Leadership

Byron Price, Texas Southern University and conference planner

Stephen Nathan, Prison Privatisation Report International

Allen M. Hornblum, PA. Crime Commission 

Jeffrey Ian Ros, University of Baltimore 

I'll be presenting a paper on organizing against family detention and the notorious T. Don Hutto detention center.  Texas Prison Bid'ness bloggers Andrew Strong and Nick Hudson will be present.  For a complete schedule or to register, visit the Barbara Jordan Institute website or email Byron Price.

GEO's Montgomery County facility's week without air

It has only been about two weeks since the Montgomery County scandal regarding budget shenanigans providing an under the table contract for The GEO Group to open a new psychiatric hospital to shadow the County jail. However, the jail is in the news again, this time because of reports from the counsel of R. Allen Stanford ("Stanford feels the heat in Conroe cell," Houston Chronicle, July 27):

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January death in LCS's Brooks County Jail results in lawsuit

On January 14th, a 41 year old man named Mario A. Garcia was found dead in his cell in LCS Corrections' Brooks County jail, leaving behind a widow and 10 year old son. Garcia had only been in jail a couple weeks after pleading guilty to charges of bid-rigging on December 31st, 2008 while working with the Corpus Christi Army Depot. Despite his detention, Garcia was never formally sentenced prior to his death.

Before his processing into the jail, Garcia had a documented health condition that required he take antidepressants and seizure medication. Because of this medical condition, Garcia was not allowed to live freely outside of prison before his sentencing (as most inmates serving time for similar crimes are allowed to do) for fear that he might kill himself. However, once imprisoned, Garcia was not given access to his medication, and a seizure is the major side effect of the medications if withheld.

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