According to Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based group that advocates for the end of for-profit prisons, at least 27 women at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, are currently on an indefinite hunger strike. The women, who have been dubbed #Hutto27 on social media, have just one demand: immediate release from immigration detention. Grassroots reports that the strike began on Wednesday evening at dinnertime.
According to a petition of support on Grassroots' website, the women are immigrants from Brazil, El Salvador, Europe, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua. They are being held in the 512-bed facility at the behest of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is run by private prison operator Corrections Corporation of America.
Grassroots' site is hosting scans of handwritten letters from 18 of the women that detail the conditions inside the center, why they came to the United States and why they want to stay here. They describe stays of more than one year, denied opportunities to post bond, inordinately high commissary prices, poor medical treatment and overall neglect.