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Latest Updates

Texas Prison Bid'ness:CCA rumored to be getting back into immigrant family detention in South Texas

Dilley, Texas will be the site of a massive for-profit immigrant family detention center.Dilley, Texas will be the site of a massive for-profit immigrant family detention center.The Texas Observer reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are planning a massive new family detention center for immigrant families near San Antonio and that representatives of Corrections Corporation of America have already met with local government officials and landowners about it.

The faciltiy would sit on a 50-acre site just outside the town of Dilley, 70 miles southwest of San Antonio. The property is part of Sendero Ranch, a “workforce housing community,” more commonly called a “man camp,” for oilfield workers. Sendero Ranch is owned by Koontz McCombs, a commercial real estate firm. Read more about CCA rumored to be getting back into immigrant family detention in South Texas

Texas Prison Bid'ness:GEO Groups' Karnes County family detention center is targeted by advocates over locking up a little girl with cancer

Nayely and Sara2Nayely and Sara2

The Karnes County family detention center, operated by the GEO Group, was at the center of a scandal over the denial of treatment for a seven year old girl with brain cancer detained inside with her mother. 

Last week Grassroots Leadership highlighted ICE’s refusal to release a Nayely, a seven-year-old with a life threatening brain tumor, from Karnes County Family Detention Center even after her mom, Sara, passed a Credible Fear Interview, the threshold for qualifying for asylum.

ICE's refusal to allow a terminally ill child to bond out of detention to receive treatment is due to a new "no or high bond" policy for immigrants seeking asylum. The policy was enacted to act as a deterrant for people who may be considering seeking asylum here. According to the Houston Chronicle, Nina Pruñeda, an ICE spokeswoman, stated that bond is actually being granted on a case by case basis. Legally, two factors are used to determine bond eligibility: whether the person is a flight risk or a danger to the community. Some advocates might argue that mothers with children are neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community.  Read more about GEO Groups' Karnes County family detention center is targeted by advocates over locking up a little girl with cancer

Humpday Hall of Shame: Get with the program, feds.

Yesterday, Grassroots Leadership board member Megan Quattlebaum’s piece in the Huffington Post called out the federal government, and specifically the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), for seriously slacking on criminal justice reform. Her post, “States Lead - Will the Feds Follow?”, shines a light on the fact that while states across the country are taking steps toward progress, the federal government is shamefully lagging behind.  

One way they have fallen behind is in the treatment of women prisoners. While states like Iowa and Washington are putting the concept of “gender responsive” prison programming into practice, the BOP has closed the only minimum security facility for women in the Northeast, converting it to a prison for men only. As a result, some women were transferred far from their families and communities, making it particularly difficult for children to maintain connections to their incarcerated mothers.

Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame: Get with the program, feds.

Si Kahn: Please join me to help Grassroots Leadership keep on keeping on

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I am proud and grateful to have been a member of the Grassroots Leadership team for almost 35 years, the best sustained experience I’ve had in my almost 50 years as a civil rights, union, and community organizer.  Looking back across the years, I especially appreciate the support of people like you who have contributed from the heart to help sustain Grassroots Leadership in our long-term work around issues of racial and economic justice.  We quite literally could never have done it without you.

Today, as for the past 15 years, Grassroots Leadership initiates and supports campaigns that fight the for-profit private prison industry – an industry that preys on and profits from the pain of incarceration and detention, particularly among the poor, immigrants, and communities of color. 

For-profit incarceration simply has no place in a just society – and for 15 years Grassroots Leadership has been on the front line of the fight to end this appalling practice. 

Grassroots Leadership responds to Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans for 2,400 bed for-profit family detention center in S. Texas

Today, the Texas Observer broke a major story on Immigration and Customs Enforcement's plans to build a 2,400 bed family detention center in the remote South Texas town of Dilley.  Initial reports are that the the family detention center will be operated by Corrections Corporation of America, the same private prison corporation that operated the notorious T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas. Read more about Grassroots Leadership responds to Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans for 2,400 bed for-profit family detention center in S. Texas