Family Detention


In 2009, Grassroots Leadership ran a successful campaign to end family detention at the Hutto Detention Center in Taylor Texas. When the Obama administration announced that it would stop detaining families at Hutto, only 100 family detention beds remained at a small facility in Pennsylvania. However, after the wave of Central American families and children seeking refuge at our border in the summer of 2014, the administration reversed its decision, opening facilities at Artesia, New Mexico; Karnes, Texas, and Dilley, Texas - all run by private prison corporations. While Artesia closed at the end of last year, the number of family detention beds has skyrocketed and is expected to reach over 3,000 by this May. Grassroots Leadership is once again working to end the inhumane policy of family detention.

Facts About Family Detention

Find out more about what family detention is, what the conditions are like, who opposes it, and more on our regularly-updated resource page: Facts about Family Detention


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New report details a pattern of violence and abuse at the hands of private prison corporations now profiting off family detention

(AUSTIN, Texas) — A new report details shocking violence, sexual abuse, neglect, filth, and wrongful death in facilities run by the same private prison companies who are poised to make millions of dollars locking up Central American women and children in immigrant family detention centers.

The GEO Group, which operates the Karnes County family detention center in Texas, has accumulated a considerable number of complaints and lawsuits for abuse and neglect and is a particular focus of the report. Most recently, a complaint was filed against the Karnes facility, alleging that GEO guards had been sexually abusing detainees there. That facility has been open less than two months.  And Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) has also faced its share of criticism and lawsuits over conditions within its facilities, including when CCA operated the disgraced T. Don Hutto family detention center in Taylor, Texas.

“When you start digging into the track records of these companies, the thing that is most shocking is how consistently they abuse, threaten, and neglect the people entrusted to them,” said Cristina Parker, of Grassroots Leadership and an author of the report. “GEO and CCA fail every single time they are allowed to detain vulnerable people.”

Click here to download the report