Dozens of activists rallied outside the T. Don Hutto Residential Facility in Taylor on Saturday, denouncing Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s push to secure long-term private contracts for detention centers in Texas. Among the protesters there to support the 512 women locked up in the facility, which is run by private prison contractor CoreCivic, were former detainees who know the conditions inside firsthand. For some, it was the first time they had returned to Hutto since their release.
Brendy Galdamez, from Honduras, remembered being roused from sleep at 5:30 in the morning for head count, enduring painfully low temperatures, and receiving inadequate medical care. “We got sick all the time because of the cold and all they gave us was Ibuprofen and other painkillers,” Galdamez said. Addressing the crowd, she and other women described their experiences as traumatic, filled with psychological and physical abuse. But the worst part, they said, was not having control over their lives.