Helping People Gain Power

Fighting Private Prisons
Fighting Deportations in Austin, Texas
Exposing the Truth
The Dirty 30 Campaign
Fighting Private Prisons

Latest Updates

Seven Year Old With Brain Tumor Being Denied Life Saving Treatment in Detention

(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. 

Texas Prison Bid'ness:Liberty County hires consultants to look into who should run the jail

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, photo courtesy of CEC.The Liberty County Jail, photo courtesy of CEC.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

Humpday Hall of Shame: Travis County's million dollar deportation program

Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton submitted an unfunded budget request totaling more than $7.4 million this summer. In response, the Travis County Commissioners Court asked him to put the request in priority order. Those priorities totaled $1.8 million dollars, and included things such as more mental health counselors at the jail, and other staff as well as license plate readers, fingerprint technology, and other upgrades.
Sheriff Hamilton and his top officers testified about the need for this budget increase — for a budget that already totals more than $153 million — on Wednesday August 13, where he was met with more than 30 people protesting his continued compliance with the federal mass deportation program.
Missing from the discussion were the millions of dollars the Travis County Sheriff's Office is spending by detaining immigrants for Immigration and Customs Enforcement through the "Secure Communities" program. 
Today we released a report showing that the Travis County Sheriff's Office has spent more than $3.8 million in the last two years holding people in the jail for ICE.

Groups urge the Committee on Ending All Forms of Racial Discrimination to investigate the impacts of the prosecutions of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border

(GENEVA) — Grassroots Leadership and Justice Strategies today submitted a report to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination that examines how the prosecution of immigrants in the U.S. has led to a boom of segregated immigrant prisons run by for-profit, private prison companies.

Families for families: The fight against detaining immigrant families begins today

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