Helping People Gain Power

Latest Updates

Texas Prison Bid'ness:Advocates protest UT alumnus Red McCombs' involvement in Dilley family detention center

UT Alumna Deborah Alemu; Image from the Daily Texan

Red McCombs, a well known alumnus of the University of Texas, is half of the partnership that makes up Koontz McCombs — the real estate group contracting the land with the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) for the new family detention camp in Dilley, TX.

The ominously named South Texas Family Detention Center will be able to hold 2,400 people, making it the largest immigrant detention center in the country and putting it on par with the internment camps built for Japanese families during World War II.

On Monday, November 17th, students, alumni, and other advocates gathered at UT's McCombs School of Business (named after McCombs in recognition of his financial support of the school) to petition Thomas Gilligan, dean of the school, to urge McCombs to reconsider the deal with CCA. 

According to some sources, Dean Gilligan agrees that the practice of detaining families is unjust. It's up to McCombs to determine the next move. Read more about Advocates protest UT alumnus Red McCombs' involvement in Dilley family detention center

Humpday Hall of Shame: Vermont paper misses the mark on out-of-state prisoner transfers

The Locked Up and #ShippedAway Campaign is in full force in Vermont, with our friends Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform leading the fight to bring approximately 500 men home from out-of-state private, for-profit prisons. More than a decade ago, Vermont prisoners were shipped away as a tactic, or "temporary solution" to alleviate prison overcrowding, yet little has been done to resolve this crisis. Vermont prisoners remain a steady revenue stream for Corrections Corporation of America, filling their prison beds in Kentucky and Arizona. Now, we are proud to stand with Vermonters and affected families who are bravely speaking out to put an end to this. 

That is why today's Humpday Hall of Shame belongs to the Caledonian Record, a rural Vermont paper whose editors have chosen to attack and intimidate the individuals who are fighting for the return of their loved one from out-of-state private prison. In an editorial comment titled, Keep Away, the authors attempt to shame two women who have spoken out about the pain and struggle they experience having their sons shipped away by calling them "sobbing moms" and exposing details from the two men's court cases. They wrote, "Ship 'em all to Kentucky, we say. Or Siberia for all we care." 

The Caledonian Record completely misses the mark.  The paper can choose to spew hate and attack vulnerable women who are speaking up for their loved ones and for better criminal justice practices.  But, that doesn't solve the problem for Vermonters whose loved ones are locked up out-of-state or for all Vermonters whose best interests include maintaining community ties for incarcerated people who eventually return home and in lowering prison populations and prison spending. At Grassroots Leadership, we stand in solidarity with prisoners and their families and all Vermonters fighting for safe and sane criminal justice policy, one that benefits communities and not private prison corporation bottom lines.  

Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame: Vermont paper misses the mark on out-of-state prisoner transfers

New Report Exposes How For-Profit Prison Corporations Co-Opt Prisoner Treatment and Rehabilitation for Monetary Gain

PRESS RELEASE

(Phoenix, AZ; Austin, TX; Atlanta, GA)-Today, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Grassroots Leadership, and the Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) released a groundbreaking report that exposes the ways in which for-profit prison corporations are adapting to historic reductions in prison populations by seeking out new markets previously served by non-profit behavioral health and treatment-oriented agencies. 

“The Treatment Industrial Complex: How For-Profit Prison Corporations are Undermining Efforts to Treat and Rehabilitate Prisoners for Corporate Gain,” highlights the expansion of the incarceration industry away from warehousing people and into areas that traditionally were focused on treatment and care of individuals involved in the criminal justice system:

  1. Prison and jail subcontracted medical care
  2. Forensic mental hospitals and civil commitment centers
  3. ‘Community corrections’ programs such as halfway houses and home arrest.

Race, Space & Place: How Chinese Exclusion and Restrictionism Influence American Anxieties Around Immigration

When analyzing contemporary socio-economic and political issues, it is important to address the histories that shape mainstream national ideologies. Once adopted, these histories highly influence policies relevant to the nation as a whole. Thus, within this blog series I will highlight some of the often ignored historical influences that have guided popular national perceptions of immigration. With that, I will also analyze how these historical methods have shaped immigration policy and how they are utilized by politicians and corporations to lobby for and justify the privatization of for-profit detention facilities that house thousands of migrants today.

As a continuation of my last blog within this text I will discuss the ways in which the previously articulated notions surrounding race, space, and place later fed American anxieties. These anxieties helped originate the U.S. “gatekeeping ideology” that led to the first racialized and class-based discriminatory restrictionist immigration policy and later the U.S. Census. From this framework I will analyze the ways that these historical ideologies shape current perceptions around race, space, place and immigration.

 

Read more about Race, Space & Place: How Chinese Exclusion and Restrictionism Influence American Anxieties Around Immigration