Helping People Gain Power
(AUSTIN)— Nayely Beltran is seven years old. She has a progressive, malignant brain tumor that requires immediate treatment by a specialist. Despite pleas from her attorney and doctors, Nayely is not receiving the medical attention that could save her life because she is being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, at Karnes, a family detention facility where more than 500 refugee women and children from Central America are being held.
The Liberty County Commissioners Court decided Tuesday, August 26 to hire a firm to consult on whether County Sheriff Bobby Rader should take over direct operation of the jail or leave it in the hands of a for-profit, private prison company.
The Liberty County Jail is currently operated by Community Education Centers. The consulting firm, MGT of America, Inc. is based in Austin and will be paid $64,000 to help the county decide what to do.
The issue is whether the contract with CEC is costing the county. In 2012, a study by Texas A&M researcher Lynn Greenwood for Liberty County found that de-privatization of the Liberty County Jail would help the county to manage its jail costs as it continues efforts to reduce the population in its jail.
County Auditor Harold Seay told Commissioner Mike McCarty that this year’s cost overrun for the jail’s operation will be about $800,000. Read more about Liberty County hires consultants to look into who should run the jail
This Saturday, Grassroots Leadership joined more than 50 other members and supporters of the Texans United for Families coalition for a vigil at the T. Don Hutto detention center, a private prison in Taylor, Texas. The vigil marked the 5th anniversary of the long but successful campaign to end the shameful practice of detaining immigrant families — including small children — at the facility.
The mood was solemn at the vigil as protesters were confronted with the renewal of mass family detention of refugee children and families from Central America. The Obama Administration has announced the opening of a family detention center in Artesia, New Mexico and has begun detaining families at a GEO Group-operated facility in Karnes County, Texas. The administration has asked for funding for up to 6,300 family detention beds across the country.Read more about Families for families: The fight against detaining immigrant families begins today