Grassroots Leadership is excited to welcome Alex Cogan as a Criminal Justice Intern for the 2018 spring semester. Alex is earning her Master of Science in Social Work with a concentration in administration and policy practice at The University of Texas at Austin. She has focused much of her graduate school research on criminal justice reform, having interned at the Travis County Correctional Complex. As a social work intern at the jail, she had the opportunity to work closely and build relationships with incarcerated individuals. Read more about Welcoming Alex Cogan as Criminal Justice Intern
Grassroots Leadership Blog
En el Día de Muertos de este año, nos unimos a los miembros de Detention Watch Network para recordar a las víctimas de los sistemas de detención y deportación de los EE. UU. Te invitamos a leer esta historia de Guadalupe, una inmigrante cuya historia se compone de experiencias de la vida real, la mayoría de ellas vividas por inmigrantes en Austin. Mientras lees, te invitamos a recordar a las personas que pierden sus vidas todos los días a manos de nuestro cruel sistema. Read more about La historia de Guadalupe: la detención y la deportación son fuerzas mortales
Yesterday, two women joined Laura Monterrosa in speaking out about sexual abuse at the Don T. Hutto Detention Center. One of the women, Ana*, said that she filed a report against the guard who harassed and in return, she was moved to Laredo as an act of retaliation. Both, Laura and Ana’s abusers are still employed at Hutto and as a result, Laura is facing increased retaliation and alienation from CoreCivic officials. Laura’s decision to speak out could have a major impact for all women detained at Hutto, but for that to happen she needs your help.
TAKE ACTION: “I demand that Laura is released immediately, she is a victim and should not be punished for speaking out!”
Ayer, dos mujeres se unieron a Laura Monterrosa para hablar sobre el abuso sexual en el Centro de Detención Don T. Hutto. Una de las mujeres, Ana *, dijo que presentó un informe contra el guardia que hostigaba y, a cambio, la trasladaron a Laredo como un acto de represalia. Ambos, los abusadores de Laura y Ana todavía están empleados en Hutto y como resultado, Laura enfrenta una mayor represalia y alienación por parte de los funcionarios de CoreCivic. La decisión de Laura de hablar abiertamente podría tener un gran impacto para todas las mujeres detenidas en Hutto, pero para que eso suceda necesita su ayuda.
ACTÚE: "Exijo que Laura sea liberada inmediatamente, ¡ella es una víctima y no debería ser castigada por hablar!" Read more about We demand the immediate release of Laura Monterrosa, victim of sexual abuse at the Hutto Detention Center
On this year's Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), we joined with members of the Detention Watch Network remembering the victims of the U.S. detention and deportation systems. We invite you to read this story of Guadalupe, an immigrant whose story is made up of different real life experiences, most of them lived by immigrants in Austin. As you read, we invite you to remember the people who lose their lives everyday at the hands of our cruel system. Read more about Guadalupe's Story: Detention and Deportation are Deadly Systems
Una carta proveniente del controversial centro de detención informa sobre nuevos casos de abuso sexual y represalias en contra de las mujeres detenidas en el centro de inmigrantes cerca de Austin. El centro de detención T. Don Hutto, que encarcela a mujeres que buscan asilo, ha sido el centro de escándalos sobre abusos sexuales en el pasado. Un ex guardia incluso fue encarcelado por múltiples ataques.
Actualmente, una carta enviada por L.M. (las iniciales de la mujer) desde el interior del centro de detención Hutto describe las experiencias de agresión sexual y represalias de ella y otras mujeres. Ella también incluye los nombres de los guardias responsables de estos actos.
La instalación en Taylor, Texas, es operada para el Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE) por la compañía privada de prisiones conocida comúnmente como Corrections Corporation of America o CCA (que prefiere ser llamada por su nueva identidad corporativa "CoreCivic" para ocultar su tres décadas de larga historia). Los guardias en la instalación son empleados de la compañía de prisiones privadas.
La carta describe un patrón de agresión sexual que L.M. ha sufrido desde el mes de Junio. Ella escribe que una guardia femenina la forzó a realizar actos sexuales en contra de su voluntad. "Me acosaba, me decía palabras amenazantes y me obligaba a tener relaciones no deseadas con ella, lo que yo no quería, pero tenía que hacer lo que ella quería", describió. "Ella buscó y aprovechó cada momento que pudo para tocar mis pechos o mis piernas, ella sabía dónde y cuándo hacerlo, no recuerdo las fechas exactas porque paso en muchas ocasiones. Ella trabaja en el área de recreación y lo que hizo conmigo lo hizo con otras residentes. Read more about ¿Qué demonios está pasando dentro del centro de detención de Hutto?
A letter from inside a controversial detention center contains new reports of sexual assault and retaliation against women detained in an immigrant detention center near Austin. The T. Don Hutto detention center, which imprisons asylum-seeking women, has been at the center of sexual assault scandals before. One former guard was even incarcerated for multiple assaults.
Now, a letter sent by L.M. (the woman’s initials) from inside the Hutto detention center describes her and others’ experiences of sexual assault and retaliation and names two guards as perpetrators. The facility in Taylor, Texas, is operated for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the private prison company commonly known as Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, (which prefers to be called by its new corporate identity “CoreCivic” to obscure their three-decades long history). Guards at the facility are employees of the private prison company.
The letter describes a pattern of sexual assault that L.M. has endured since June. She writes that a female guard forced her into sexual acts against her will. “She harassed me, telling me threatening words and forcing me to have unwanted relations with her, which I did not want, but I had to do what she wanted,” she described. “She looked for or took advantage of every moment she could to touch my breasts or my legs, she knew where and when she did it, I don't remember dates because there are many. She worked in the recreation area and what she did with me she did with other residents.” Read more about What the hell is going on inside the Hutto detention center?
The deceptive tactics of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) dominated headlines in early October. Following multiple nation-wide raids that terrorized the community, immigrant leaders and advocates demanded information that uncovered the agency’s many lies. ICE claimed to be conducting “routine operations,” in Austin and elsewhere. That was a lie. ICE targeted Austin with widespread and devastating raids in early February as “punishment” on the community for Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s policies at the Travis County Jail. The raids intentionally terrorized the community, separated families and led to the deportation of residents.
While the raids were underway, ICE was waging a dishonest public relations campaign to publicize alleged “egregious” crimes in order to bolster Trump’s fear-mongering rhetoric about immigrants. Read more about ICE caught lying — again — about their tactics and immigration raids in Austin
After long battles in both the Texas Capitol and Austin City Council, formerly incarcerated people and their allies won a major victory for Fair Chance Hiring here in 2017. We celebrate this victory as a landmark event for the people who have been dehumanized by incarceration to advocate for their rights and to be seen and hired by employers for who they are.
The Fair Chance movement is a nationwide campaign to end employment discrimination in the hiring process, and to restore civil rights in our society. The Fair Chance process requires employers to consider candidates on their merit prior to asking about criminal convictions, moving the background check to the end of the hiring process. This ordinance is the only one of its kind in the South, and took effect in Austin on April 4, 2016.
Legal employment discrimination against individuals with an arrest and/or conviction history is far reaching, and disproportionately harms the poor and communities of color. In Texas, despite making up only 12.5% of the population, African Americans account for nearly 35% of individuals locked up in Texas prisons, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Gainful employment is one of the most critical steps to prevent recidivism. Read more about Did you know formerly incarcerated people fought back (and won) in Texas? You should
The FBI has released its annual report on crime data in the U.S. for the year 2016 and the primary findings include an overall decline in crime for the 15th year in a row, a decline in property crime for the 14th consecutive year, but an increase in the violent crime rate nationally for the second straight year. In response, we must support continued decarceration efforts and reject any calls to return to the insidious policies that lead to mass incarceration and over-policing, which overwhelmingly prey on people of color and contradict a growing body of evidence that decarceration and less policing make us safer.
Despite the uptick in violent crime since 2014, we are still in the midst of a remarkable long-term decline in both violent and property crime at the national level. A deeper dive into the numbers from 2016 once again show violence, particularly homicides, heavily concentrated in a few neighborhoods in some of the biggest major cities. Preliminary analysis of the 2017 crime stats shows that violent crime will decrease once again, signaling that we are not at the beginning of an upward swing.
The current downward trend in national crime rates has coincided, since 2007, with concerted efforts by most states to reduce prison populations. Nationally, the crime and incarceration rate fell together from 2008 to 2014. From 2010 to 2015, the 10 states that cut imprisonment the most saw crime fall almost twice as much as the 10 states with the most growth in imprisonment. As the author of a major new review of incarceration studies found, “...the cost-benefit case for decarceration is a no-brainer: all benefit and no cost.” Read more about Don’t believe anyone who tells you crime rates call for more policing and jailing
Read more about One month campaign update for Alirio Gámez in Sanctuary in Austin>
"Me siento muy contento y agradecido por toda la gente que me está apoyando mucho. Sinceramente les digo que no puedo regresar a mi país, porque el momento que regreso, estoy en riesgo de perder mi vida. Esta petición de nuestra campaña es importante para parar mi deportación." - Alirio Gámez, Oct. 3, 2017