Another year has passed here at Texas Prison Bid'ness, and what an exciting year it has been. As we have done in the past, the bloggers here at TPB would like to recap our favorite or perhaps the most memorable stories/topics over the past year. Over the next few days, we'll be posting 2009's top five stories related to private prisons.
The end of family detention at Hutto was TPB's biggest story of 2009.
#1 Family detention ends at CCA's T. Don Hutto detention center
By the beginning of 2009, perhaps no private prison in the country had become as controversial as Corrections Corporation of America's T. Don Hutto family detention center in Taylor, Texas. The former medium-security prison was converted into a family detention center in 2006, and had been the site of dozens of vigils, a major lawsuit, two critical documentary films, intense media scrutiny, and a national movement to end family detention.
So, when the government decided to stop sending immigrant families to Hutto, it was big news. The New York Times lead with this line on 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."