Grassroots Leadership Blog

Grassroots Leadership Welcomes Piper Madison

Grassroots Leadership is pleased to welcome Piper Madison to our team in the Austin office.  Piper comes to us through the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.'s Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) Program, which matches young adults with non-profits for a year of service.  This is the first year that Austin is hosting participants in the program. The goals of the YAV program include: to experience living in intentional Christian community; to focus on spiritual formation; to engage young adults in the [Presbyterian] church’s mission; to assist YAVs in vocational discernment; to be present in communities of need and to facilitate young adults’ engagement in communities of need.

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Who gains if GEO Care takes over Kerrville State Hospital?

You already know who doesn’t want Texas to contract with GEO Care, a division of private prison corporation GEO Group, to take over the Kerrville State Hospital.  With our partners and allies at other organizations, Grassroots Leadership sent a letter in opposition to privatization to Governor Rick Perry.  Community members from around the state have also signed on to our petition calling on the Governor to cancel the bidding process.   We have cited numerous potential problems if the Texas Department of State Health Services turns over control of the hospital to GEO Care.

Based on GEO’s history in Texas and beyond, we are concerned about what contracting with the for-profit prison company will mean for patient care at Kerrville State Hospital, for the safety of the employees that work there, and for the community of Kerrville that could see significant downsizing of jobs at the hospital. GEO has promised to cut operating costs there by 10%.

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Hump Day Hall of Shame: As Arizona faces firestorm of criticism over private prison contract, ADC moves to privatize re-entry

Co-Authored by Caroline Isaacs, director of the AFSC's Arizona Program in Tucson 

You may have seen a lot of press recently about the announcement that Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) will make this Friday, awarding a contract for construction and management of up to 2,000 prison beds to one of five private, for-profit prison corporations.

Arizona advocates have engaged the support of state and national organizations to oppose Arizona’s planned expansion of its for-profit prison beds.  This week Grassroots Leadership added its name to a letter addressed to Arizona governor Jan Brewer, along with over 50 other organizations, faith leaders, and elected officials in an effort to block the award of a new private prison contract.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: GEO Group aims for take-over of Texas state hospital

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

In Texas, where both incarceration and immigrant detention rates soar, we’re accustomed to scrutinizing the state’s privatization efforts of these facilities.  However, there’s a new trend afoot in our state; privatizing state mental health facilities under the guise of cost savings to taxpayers, and Texas is turning over control of these facilities to companies that run for-profit prisons to provide care and safety to our state’s mentally ill population.

The state is currently considering a bid to privatize a state-run psychiatric facility by GEO Care, who promises to save the state millions of dollars a year.  

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Arizona Guarantees Occupancy at More Expensive Private Prisons

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

This week, we return to Arizona, familiar territory for our Humpday Hall of Shame.   Not only did private prison corporations reportedly play a role in driving that's state's harsh anti-immigrant law, now comes a two-part expose on the Arizona Departement of Corrections-contracted private prisons from the American Friends Service Committee.

In Part I of their series, they show that not only do for-profit prisons not save money, but that state officials have known that fact for quite some time.  However state law had mandated that-profit prison corporations show cost savings during the competitive bidding process before a contract is awarded.

In Part II, AFSC shows private prison contracts in Arizona have been amended to  promise 100% occupancy of private facilities.  See excerpts from the report after the jump.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: Idaho set to send prisoners out-of-state again?

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

This week we return to Idaho, a familiar location for the Humpday Hall of Shame.  Back in April, we reported that Idaho, despite a long run of horror stories and lawsuits involving private prison corporations, continues to contract with private prison companies like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).   CCA operates the Idaho Correctional Center, a facility with a reputation so violent that it has earned the nickname “Gladiator School” from people incarcerated there.

Now, Idaho is looking to export prisoners to a CCA prison in Colorado.  See more from an AP article after the jump.

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New Leader for Grassroots Leadership

 

Beginning July 1st,  Bob Libal will be Grassroots Leadership’s new Interim Executive Director.

Bob, currently our Senior Organizer, brings with him more than a decade of work around the issues of prison and immigrant detention privatization.  He has worked in leadership positions with Grassroots Leadership for almost ten years, managing some of our most successful program.  Please direct all Grassroots Leadership communication to him at blibal@grassrootsleadership.org.

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Humpday Hall of Shame: NJ Governor Chris Christie & Community Education Centers

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

For today's Humpday Hall of Shame we induct both New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and private prison corporation Community Education Centers (CEC). CEC was subject to a three-part expose in the New York Times this week on its half-way houses in New Jersey.

The reports detail a stunningly flawed half-way house system with little-to-no security, prisoners subject to sexual assaults, theft, and murder, and more than 5,000 prisoners who simply walked away from the facility.

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The for-profit corrections corporations' loss is society's gain

"It makes no sense to expel talented young persons who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans."
  And with that message, President Barack Obama announced a policy that gives legal status to nearly a million young immigrants who meet the DREAM Act requirements, and, for the moment, stops their deportation and grants work authorization.

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