“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

CEC faces lawsuit over sexual assault allegation at Jack Harwell

Jack Harwell Detention CenterJack Harwell Detention CenterA woman who was previously detained inside Jack Harwell Detention Center in McLennan County recently filed a lawsuit alleging the she was sexually assaulted "on a number of occasions" while incarcerated there from November 2012 to March 2013, as reported by the Waco Tribune.


Until June 2013, Jack Harwell was run by private prison corporation Community Education Centers (CEC), now facing a lawsuit alleging gross negligence that led to the conditions that permitted the assaults to take place.


According to the plaintiff in the case, CEC's negligence includes the failure to maintain sufficient staff, especially female staff to search female inmates. The suit also alleges that CEC “fostered an unsafe and relatively uncontrolled environment, which allowed smuggling into the facility, improper relations within the facility and generally created an environment where there was a lack of reasonable institutional control at the facility.”


Sheriff’s Office Capt. M.R. “Bubba” Colyer confirmed that the allegations remain under investigation. The woman has reported the sexual assaults to the county Sheriff, but no arrest warrent has been issued.


Welcoming New TPB Blogger, Bethany N. Carson

Texas Prison Bid'ness is pleased to welcome Bethany Carson as a new blogger.Bethany CarsonBethany Carson

Most recently, Bethany has been coordinating the inception of a new immigrant visitation program at the ICE-contracted detention center in Cleburne, Texas and organizing against local policy discriminatory towards immigrants. Previously, she served as a parent liaison to an After-School program for immigrant children and helped to coordinate and run some of the first DACA clinics in Kentucky. Bethany also participated in a labor rights delegation to Colombia with international grassroots organization Witness for Peace, leading to a co-authored a report to the U.S. Embassy and continued advocacy for a group of injured auto workers on hunger strike. Leading up to the 2012 presidential election, Bethany also worked on a GOTV and Civic Engagement campaign at the Dallas Peace Center.

Originally from Allen, Texas, Bethany attended Centre College in Kentucky where she studied Government and Spanish, and had the opportunity to study and work in several minority and migrant communities in Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil.

“After years of researching and observing the injustices of U.S policy in Latin America and U.S. immigrant communities, I am excited for the opportunity to advocate full time for the decriminalization of immigrant communities and the dismantling of the Prison Industrial Complex. I’m thrilled to be working for just and lasting change."

"No Sanctuary: Big Business and Family Detention" premiered in Austin

The newest film by Austin-based filmmaker Matthew Gossage about family detention, "No Sanctuary: Big Business and Family Detention" premiered to an audience of over 80 people in Austin, TX last Friday.

The film, a short documentary running about 30 minutes, gives a brief history of family detention and the coalition that brought it to an end at the T. Don Hutto family detention center. It also follows a mother, Sara, who together with her 7-year-old daughter was detained in the newly opened Karnes Family Detention Center. Sara and her daughter, Nayely, won freedom from Karnes after their lawyer took their story to Grassroots Leadership and the media. Nayely has brain cancer and was not receiving medical inside the Karnes County family detention center, which is operated by the GEO Group.

The film is available for advocacy and organizing groups around the country who want to learn more about family detention and what they can do to bring this practice to an end, once and for all.

Watch the trailer below. If you would like to show the film in your commnunity, email tuff@grassrootsleadership.org


Sexual abuse lawsuit in Fannin County against Community Education Center, County

Fannin County JailFannin County JailSexual assaults in the Fannin County Jail have spawned a lawsuit by two women against the county, private prison corporation Community Education Centers (CEC), and individual officials at the facility.  

The lawsuit alleges CEC, the county and facility officials are liable for assaults committed by former Fannin County Sheriff's deputy William Clifford Isaacs. Issacs sexually assualted at least four women who were being transferred from the Fannin County Jail. The jail is operated by the private prison corporation Community Education Centers.  Isaacs was convicted for the sexual assaults of four federal felonies and is awaiting sentencing.  The suit alleges that:

"In addition to those reasons stated above, Defendant CEC negligently failed to protect [her], and other female inmates, from the unwanted assault by Defendant Isaacs despite the knowledge of previous sexual assaults by guards on inmates and common national jail standards of requiring at least two officers during any transport of inmates for officer safety. Additionally, CEC’s policies in the Fannin County Jail allow female inmates to be exclusively supervised by male guards, having had only one female guard on staff at a given time, if any."

Texas Prison Bid'ness has acquired a copy the lawsuit which details the allegations against CEC, Fannin County, and officials at the facility.  The plaintiffs are represented by Don Tittle Law in Dallas.  We will keep you posted on developments in this suit.    

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