“While immigrants suffer under prolonged detention at Polk County and the Houston Processing Center, private prison corporations are getting rich,” said Bob Libal, Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership. “It doesn’t have to be this way. ICE should prioritize release of immigrants in community support programs that are far more humane, less costly, and are effective at ensuring immigrants are able to appear at their hearings.” Read more about Texas Groups Unveil Reports on Conditions of Immigrant Detention: December 8th Protest at Polk County Detention Center to Call for Prison’s Closure
Grassroots Leadership In The News
“Our immigration detention system is in crisis,” Andrea Black, executive director of the network, said at a press conference organized by advocacy group Grassroots Leadership in Austin. Black said the reports detail inadequate medical care and nutrition and inmates being confined in crowded cells for up to 23 hours a day. Read more about Immigrant Detention Facilities Inhumane, Study Claims
At Polk County, 280 people signed up to speak to a team led by Bob Libal of Grassroots Leadership in Austin. The group spoke to 60. Alleged problems included work programs paying $1 an hour, expensive phone calls that provided few minutes, and the use of solitary confinement and the signing of an English-only document agreeing to it by a man who couldn’t understand the document.
“It is really at a point that ICE can’t maintain a system so large and have it truly be a civil system,” Libal said. Read more about Reform needed in immigrant detentions, report says
“This is a testament to the role that advocacy can play in shaping decisions,” said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. His organization, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the Center for Public Policy Priorities, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and the United Methodist Church stated their opposition to GEO Care’s bid in a letter to DSHS, the Legislative Budget Board, and Gov. Rick Perry earlier this year. “The reason the proposal was rejected is telling of the problems with privatization—you make your money by cutting staff and paying them less while the care of your patients suffers,” Libal said. Read more about State Rejects GEO Care’s Bid to Privatize Psychiatric Hospital
Bob Libal, the Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership, a human rights advocacy group, has coauthored a 27-page report, Operation Streamline: Costs and Consequences, and he forwarded me a copy. The report describes how $5.5 billion has been spent since 2005 “turning undocumented immigrants into federal prison inmates,” and enriching private prison corporations. Read more about A Grassroots Leadership Report on Operation Streamline
The average sentence for illegal re-entry is between one and two years, though those convicted of the crime can be held up to 10 years if the offender has a criminal history in the U.S., according to a recent report from Grassroots Leadership, a criminal justice advocacy group.
"Why would the state continue to award companies with an incredibly troubled record like GEO's?," asked Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, a group that opposes private prisons. "I think one answer is that Geo has spent millions of dollars on campaign contributions and lobbying over the last several years. That lobbying power pays off when you have riders that explicitly benefit the company." Read more about Behind the Private Prison Company That May Take Over Kerrville State Hospital
“These policies have led to the point where about half of federal prisoners are now Latino,” said Bob Libal, director of Grassroots Leadership, who authored “Operation Streamline: Costs and Consequences,” a report released on Wednesday. [...]
Since Streamline began in 2005, the federal government has spent $5.5 billion incarcerating undocumented immigrants, according to the Grassroots Leadership report. That money is funneled into private profits. Read more about Advocates Want Halt to Expansion Of Private Prisons For Non-Citizens
The coalition, which includes Justice Strategies, the ACLU of Texas, Grassroots Leadership and the Sentencing Project, argued that “petty immigration violations” are sending more Latinos to prisons where they face “poor management, lack of medical care, prolonged lockdown and human rights violations.”
(also ran in the Tuscon Sentinel and Utne) Read more about Advocacy Groups Target Private Prisons for Immigrants
Bob Libal, a member of a group called Grassroots Leadership, said in a press release, “I think that the GEO Care record in Florida, where the three deaths occurred, and in Montgomery County, where GEO Care is currently being fined by DSHS for lack of quality patient care, has already shown itself to be similar to what we’ve seen in the GEO correctional facilities.”
Grassroots Leadership is a nonprofit fighting to end the for-profit prison industry and is part of the coalition opposing GEO’s Kerrville bid. The coalition includes groups from the Texas ACLU to a board of the United Methodist Church. Their position is that hiring GEO to run that facility, while being proposed as a cost-saving move, could carry a high cost, not only in patient suffering but also in taxpayer dollars, in the long run. Read more about Low-Bidding Mental Illness: The company that brought us deadly private prisons wants to run Kerrville State Hospital.
“When private, for-profit companies bid on contracts to privatize public facilities like Kerrville State Hospital, they often promise to save the tax-payer money, which is enticing to a state like Texas that continues to face a serious budget crisis,” said Kymberlie Quong Charles of Grassroots Leadership. “But that promise is in conflict with their first priority of making a profit. They may be able to cut their operating budget, but at the cost of peoples’ jobs and patients’ safety.” Read more about Private Prison Company’s New Profit Source: Mental Health
"The Geo Group has a long and troubled history in Texas," said Bob Libal, whose organization, Grassroots Leadership, signed the letter along with groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Disability Rights Texas, Texas NAACP, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and the United Methodist Church.
(originally ran in the Texas Tribune) Read more about Advocacy groups blast privatization plan for state psych hospital