Recently, in a Montgomery County Jail, David Courtney died while under the care of the private medical corporation Correct Care Recovery Solutions. Read more about Private Prison Medical Corporation Correct Care Solutions Found at Fault After Man Dies in Montgomery County Jail Facility
Grassroots Leadership Blog
We should all be ashamed of a justice system that punishes people who are trying to do the right thing. In the case of Nan-Hui Jo, doing the right thing meant fleeing the United States with her infant daughter, Vitz Da, to escape the physical and emotional abuse of the child’s father. Upon her escape, her ex-partner filed child abduction charges, for which Nan-Hui was tried twice. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have continued to leverage their institutional power to maintain an immigration hold and pursue deportation, which would permanently separate Nan-Hui from her daughter.
Despite evidence of abuse and her status as a survivor and a pending U Visa application on file, Yolo County (CA) District Attorneys have advanced racist, anti-immigrant, and sexist tropes to paint Nan-Hui as an abuser, leading to what has been a seven-month separation of mother and child. If she is deported, this separation will become permanent.Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame | Stop the deportation of Nan-Hui Jo
By guest blogger Marlon Saucedo, who recently joined our Austin staff as an intern and will be blogging at Texas Prison Bid'ness.
A crowd of over 300 people rallied on February 11 in front of the Capitol to advocate in support for immigration reform aimed towards the benefit of the immigrant community.
“It is important for you all to educate yourselves on the economy so that you know how many dollars our children are paying in college. $42 million is how much we and our families contribute to our colleges,” said Ramon Romero Jr., one of several state representatives who spoke during the event.
Much of the rally was specifically in opposition to legislative action that would repeal House Bill 1403 and Senate Bill 1528, which grant in-state tuition and a claim to residency for higher education to immigrant students, respectively.Read more about Immigrant rights advocates rally at the Texas Capitol to protect in-state tuition for DREAMers
In the past four months, District Judge Michael Seiler of Montgomery County has been recused from hearing eight civil commitment cases due to allegations of bias. These eight cases accounted for half of the sixteen petitions in total made by defense attorneys to have him removed from proceedings. Read more about Texas’ Civil Commitment Program Stymied By Scandal Over Bias Allegations and Housing Crisis
We are disappointed to learn that Denton is the newest Texas county to eliminate face-to-face visitation between those incarcerated at the county jail and their loved ones. Like Travis and Bastrop counties, Denton County is now forcing "visitors" to use a video visitation system provided by Dallas-based Securus Technologies which charges users up to $20 for 20 minute "visits." Consistent with reports from other counties, the system in Denton is sub-par. "It was very choppy and pixelated, and at times where it would cut off completely and say it's trying to reconnect us," said one user. Shame on Securus and Denton County for extorting those who are committed to mainting face-to-face ties with their loved ones by forcing them to pay for a system that doesn't work. If you're as angry as we are, we invite you to join us for a protest at Denton County Jail next Thursday, February 26th and to sign and share this petition to Denton County Commissioners demanding that they find a way to restore in-person visitation.
Just as we were about to pull our hair out learning of the news from Denton, our partners at the Prison Policy Initiative released this series of hilarious videos that shine a spotlight on the very complaints that we hear from those who have been forced to use video visitation services. We applaud and give thanks to those who can use humor to shed light on these disgraceful practices and feel hopeful that messages like the ones below are the keys to making the ills of video visitation something everyone can relate to.
Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame: Another Texas county removes face-to-face jail visits
Last week, counsel for plaintiffs in the Flores case filed a motion to enforce the Flores settlement in federal district court in Los Angeles. Read more about New litigation says family detention and "ice boxes" violate prior settlement on the treatment of kids in immigrant detention
Grassroots Leadership is ecstatic to welcome Lauren Johnson to our team! Lauren is our very first Criminal Justice Advocacy and Mobilization Fellow, a new initiative to create leadership experiences during the Texas legislative session for individuals who have been impacted by the criminal justice system. Lauren will be supporting the Criminal Justice team with our Texas Prison Closures and Video Visitation campaigns.
Lauren Johnson is a native Austinite and currently serves as a board member with Conspire Theatre. Conspire does theater and creative writing with women who have been impacted by incarceration. Lauren studied business communications with the University of Phoenix and is an active member of the X-Offenders Council, as well as the Travis County Reentry Planning Council. She is committed to being a voice for the people who don't know that they have one.
Lauren can be reached at LJohnson@GrassrootsLeadership.orgRead more about Welcome Lauren Johnson!
We can't wait to show you our new place
Mark your calendars for and plan to spend the evening partying with us! Stay tuned for the details on how to participate, in-person and virtually, in warming our new home and celebrating our organization's expanding work.
Read more about Save the Date! Warm our new home with us!
This week's Humpday Hall of Shame is written for us by guest blogger Jorge Renaud, policy analyst with the Texas Criminal Justice Coaliton
Words matter, as do the accolades we give to each other to recognize achievement and progress. Both must be grounded in an agreed-upon understanding of terms. Otherwise, we have a grotesquerie similar to the one achieved when Henry Kissinger – whose idea to deescalate the Vietnam War by bombing Cambodia resulted in 40,000 deaths there – was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973.
An entity named DallasHR saw fit to award its 2014 Human Resource Executive of the Year Award to Kate Lengvel, a vice president in Human Resources for Securus Technology. If your memory needs refreshing, Securus is the Dallas-area company that provides telephone and video services to a bunch of U.S. jails and prisons and also trumpets a product line called Satellite Tracking of People (STOP). This latest is reminiscent of a long-time Texas tradition whereby ranchers staple identifying markers to the ears of their cattle to keep accurate counts of their herds, and it’s pretty well indicative of what Securus does – dehumanize incarcerated individuals and their families, all for profit.Read more about Humpday Hall of Shame: Human Resources laurels for Securus' inhumane corporate practices