Grassroots Leadership In The News

Jun 15, 2013
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KUT News

Protest Aims to Close Detention Center Outside Houston

Grassroots Leadership and Texans United for Families will conduct a vigil and protest outside of Polk County Adult Detention Facility this Saturday. [...]
“Most of the men there are in small, eight person cells”, says Piper Madison, Texas organizer of Grassroots Leadership. “There’s no natural lighting, there’s no privacy. They spend up to 23 hours a day in the same 600 square feet with seven other people”.

Jun 12, 2013
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La Voz de Houston

Detenciones de indocumentados activan protesta en Houston

“Estar allí, separados de sus familias es simplemente enfermizo para nuestra comunidad y nuestro país”, dice Piper Madison, organizadora y activista de la coalición Texas United for Families (Texas Unida por las Familias), en referencia a los adultos que permanecen detenidos por la irregularidad de su estatus, y separados de sus hijos. Read more about Detenciones de indocumentados activan protesta en Houston

May 29, 2013
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Dallas Morning News

State budget moves to close Dawson State Jail on banks of the Trinity River. But TDCJ still has final say.

“This victory gives us tremendous hope and momentum,” says Kymberlie Quong Charles of Grassroots Leadership, a coalition of groups that’s been pushing for Dawson’s closure. “Texas is the birthplace of the modern private prison industry. If we can get the Texas legislature to agree that private facilities are not working for our state, that’s good news for the national movement against for-profit prisons.” Read more about State budget moves to close Dawson State Jail on banks of the Trinity River. But TDCJ still has final say.

May 6, 2013
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Fronteras

Following Detainee Deaths, Critics Question ICE Use Of Private Prisons

Bob Libal is with Grassroots Leadership, an activist group opposed to private prisons. He questioned whether the staffing was adequate at the Eloy facility and he points to a recent lawsuit against CCA in Idaho where the company admitted it had falsified staffing records.
"So I do think that there’s a chronic problem with staffing at some of these facilities,” Libal said Read more about Following Detainee Deaths, Critics Question ICE Use Of Private Prisons

May 1, 2013
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KUT News

Texas Civil Rights Project Files Suit Against Private Corporation Running Dawson State Jail

“This is an industry that thrives when no one is paying attention," Libal said.  "This is an industry that uses campaign contributions and its lobbying influence to win contracts and to maintain contracts even when there is ample evidence that these contracts should be ended. And I think there is probably no better example than what is happening here in Texas right now.” Read more about Texas Civil Rights Project Files Suit Against Private Corporation Running Dawson State Jail

Apr 25, 2013
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The Flaming Sword of Justice

"Outside the prison, a sign that showed that day's share price"

Today's show shines a spotlight on the private prison system, with help from two of its fiercest critics: the head of Grassroots Leadership, which has helped curb some of the industry's worst excesses, and a former private-prison inmate who tells how he, during his incarceration, helped stop a massive private prison expansion... and then beat the prison company that tried to retaliate against him. Read more about "Outside the prison, a sign that showed that day's share price"

Feb 27, 2013
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Houston Chronicle

Hundreds of low-risk detainees released from immigration detention

"Obviously, it's very good news from our perspective," said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, a group that monitors civil rights abuses at the detention centers. "It's obvious that the rationale for detaining all of these people was clearly not justified in the first place if they're now able to release them." Read more about Hundreds of low-risk detainees released from immigration detention

Feb 26, 2013
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The Nation

How Private Prisons Game the Immigration System

On the one hand, a pathway to citizenship and legal reforms sought by advocates could reduce the number of immigrants detained by CCA and its competitors in the private prison industry. “Private prison corporations have an enormous stake in immigration reform,” says Bob Libal, a prison reform advocate with Grassroots Leadership. “A reform that provides a timely pathway to citizenship without further criminalizing migration would be a huge hit to the industry,” he says. Read more about How Private Prisons Game the Immigration System

Feb 26, 2013
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The Texas Observer

Death at Dawson: Why is Texas’s Worst State Jail Still Open?

Yesterday, two advocacy groups, The Sentencing Project and Grassroots Leadership,released a report summarizing the case for closing Dawson—primarily that it could save the state $24 million a year. That’s not counting how much the state could make by selling the property on which Dawson sits, a riverside plot in downtown Dallas that the city has been clamoring to develop for years. Read more about Death at Dawson: Why is Texas’s Worst State Jail Still Open?

Feb 25, 2013
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The Dallas Morning News

Jail opponents, state politicians agree: It’s time to close the Dawson State Jail on the Trinity River in Dallas

Meanwhile the Grassroots Leadership (based out of North Carolina, with offices in Austin) and The Sentencing Project reiterated their call for closing the jail. Last month the coalition said it should be closed for myriad reasons, among them a handful of health-related deaths at the Dawson State Jail in recent years.
“Dawson has a well-documented history of neglect of incarcerated people, in many cases resulting in death,” says Grassroots Leadership’s Kymberlie Quong Charles in a release issued this morning.
“Unfortunately, these problems are common in prisons run for profit by corporations. How many more people will have to die before this facility is closed?” Read more about Jail opponents, state politicians agree: It’s time to close the Dawson State Jail on the Trinity River in Dallas

Feb 25, 2013
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The Dallas Observer

Report: Closure of Dallas' Dawson State Jail Could Save State $24 Million Per Year

Two national groups that signed onto the letter, Grassroots Leadership and The Sentencing Project, released a brief report this morning further detailing the reasons for closure. [...] To underline the points highlighted in the report, Grassroots Leadership will host a vigil outside Dawson on March 7 to call for its closure.

Feb 22, 2013
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The Rolling Stone

The For-Profit Imprisonment Racket

The dangerous intimacy between the immigration and criminal justice systems is fostered by executives with high stakes in the human consequences – people like Venturella, who, according to Grassroots Leadership, took a new job in July as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development at the GEO Group, the second highest grossing private prison company in the country. Read more about The For-Profit Imprisonment Racket

Feb 19, 2013
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The New York Times

A Company That Runs Prisons Will Have Its Name on a Stadium

“It’s startling to see a stadium will be named after them,” Libal said. “It’s like calling something Blackwater Stadium. This is a company whose record is marred by human rights abuses, by lawsuits, by unnecessary deaths of people in their custody and a whole series of incidents that really draw into question their ability to successfully manage a prison facility.” Read more about A Company That Runs Prisons Will Have Its Name on a Stadium

Feb 12, 2013
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Huffington Post (originally in CIP Americas)

With Immigration Reform Looming, Private Prisons Lobby to Keep Migrants Behind Bars

Bob Libal, of Grassroots Leadership, which issued a major report on Operation Streamline’s migrant-to-prison pipeline last year, commented on Operation Streamline and related programs, “These are programs where immigrants lose years of their lives and taxpayers lose billions of dollars, but the private prison corporations are counting on these programs to make profits to pay their executives exorbitant salaries and reinvest their money in lobbying efforts.”
He notes that the problem of decoupling immigration reform from enforcement is a political—and economic—one. “There is no legal reason why we can’t fix our immigration system and legalize people who are here without increasing border militarization and criminal penalties.” Read more about With Immigration Reform Looming, Private Prisons Lobby to Keep Migrants Behind Bars

Feb 2, 2013
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Business Insider

Private Prisons Will get Totally Slammed by Immigration Reform

“[Prior to 2005,] typically when someone was apprehended at the border they would be deported or dealt with in the civil immigration system," Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, told Business Insider. "What Streamline did was move those people into the criminal justice system and charged them with one of two crimes." Read more about Private Prisons Will get Totally Slammed by Immigration Reform

Jan 25, 2013
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The Huffington Post

Immigration Reform Must End, Not Expand, Operation Streamline, by executive director Bob Libal

The debate over the proposed "comprehensive immigration reform" bill is intensifying, with a "gang of six" senators attempting to hash out a bill that would regularize the status of some undocumented immigrants but may also include increased funding for harsh border enforcement policies. Read more about Immigration Reform Must End, Not Expand, Operation Streamline, by executive director Bob Libal

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