Williamson commissioners to end contract with detention center

June 26, 2018
Austin American-Statesman

The Williamson County commissioners have voted to terminate the county’s contracts with ICE and CoreCivic at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor on Jan. 31, 2019.

“Thank you for voting; you did the right thing legally, you did the right thing morally,” said Sofia Casini, the coordinator of the visitation program that the nonprofit Grassroots Advocacy group has been running to visit women at the detention center. Casinia said the detention center needed to be shut down.

The move by the commissioners comes a week after President Donald Trump ordered a halt to the recent practice of separating families entering the United States illegally. The Austin-based civil and human rights nonprofit group Grassroots Leadership said the women detained at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center have not been told about when or if they will be reunited with their children.

Representatives from GrassRoots Leadership and other community members asked the county commissioners this spring to address issues at the detention center. The group also asked Sheriff Robert Chody to investigate sexual assault allegations at the facility. Chody has said he referred the issue to the FBI.