Jun 23, 2014
El Diario

Buscan incentivar visitas a inmigrantes detenidos

Cristina Parker aún recuerda su primera visita a una mujer inmigrante detenida a la cual no conocía y que se encontraba recluida en uno de los Centros de Detención para Inmigrantes que hay en el país.

“Fue triste la primera vez que hice la visita, pero es más difícil para ellas estar ahí”, recordó Parker.

Parker es coordinadora del proyecto de inmigración de la organización ‘Grassroots Leadership’, misma agrupación que implementó el Programa de Visitas a Inmigrantes en Detención en el T. Don Hutto Detention Center en Taylor, Texas.

Mediante este programa se coordinan las visitas de voluntarios con el fin de romper con el aislamiento de los detenidos y destacando el significado emocional de una visita. Ahora su objetivo es crear otros programas similares en otros lugares de Texas, como podría ser en El Paso. [node:read-more:link]

Jun 22, 2014
The Rag Blog

Alice Embree : Grassroots Leadership takes on the prison profiteers

Grassroots Leadership says that Texas is “ground zero” with “more incarcerated people, immigration detention beds, and for-profit prisons than any other state.” That is why the national organization, founded in 1980 by activist and musician Si Kahn, moved its program operations to Austin in 2012.

I spoke with Executive Director Bob Libal about Grassroots Leadership and the group’s current organizing efforts in Travis County, Texas, and nationally. They have a solid track record of success. They helped shut down the notoriously bad Dawson State Jail, end the immigrant family detention at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center, and stop the expansion of the private prison industry. They also have an ambitious agenda for the future. [node:read-more:link]

Humpday Hall of Shame: Report exposes outrageous abuse and dangerous quotas inside prisons for migrants

Every year, the federal Bureau of Prisons subjects tens of thousands of immigrants to lengthy prison sentences simply for unlawfully crossing the border. A new report from the ACLU and ACLU of Texas exposes an outrageous level of abuse, neglect and discrimination in these "Criminal Alien Requirement" (CAR) Prisons. [node:read-more:link]

Humpday Hall of Shame: Private Prison Companies Buying “Impartial” Accreditation Agency … Again

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised at this point, but every time a private prison company pops up as a top sponsor of the largest “impartial” accrediting association in the world, we are. This time not one but eight private prison and private correctional healthcare companies, each with a history of human rights violations, are the top sponsors of the American Correctional Association’s 144th Congress of Corrections conference.

Among them are Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group, Management and Training Corporation, Corizon, Wexford Health, MHM Correctional Services, Centurion, and Naphcare.


ACLU of TN delivers petition to Gov. — Kick CCA out of TN!

Today, the nation’s first and largest for-profit private prison company, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), is holding its annual shareholders’ meeting in Nashville, TN. The Nashville based, multi-billion dollar corporation and its shareholders profit handsomely from the imprisonment of human beings. 

This time last year, while CCA was celebrating its 30 year anniversary at their shareholders’ meeting, Grassroots Leadership and our partners marched outside and smashed pinatas in protest. We let them know there is nothing to celebrate about 30 years of profiting from pain. Check out more photos of us crashing CCA's party last year HERE.


Koch Institute mass incarceration panelists call out private prisons

On April 16, 2014 the Charles Koch Institute and Mediaite hosted Rule of Law: How the Criminal Justice System Impacts Well-Being, a panel discussion in Austin, TX, which sought to foster discussion focused on the impacts of mass incarceration on our society. For an event branded by Koch — the family name notorious for their mutli-billion dollar conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc. and pro-free market and privatization ideology — the discussion around the for-profit, private prison industry was an interesting one.  


Hump Day Hall of Shame: Kentucky locks up aging and sick, CCA gets rich...twice

Kentucky plans to make the private prison company, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), rich off of taxpayer money by locking up aging and sick people. This new prison plan will fill a CCA prison that closed after prisoners were relocated due to horrendous sexual assault allegations and penal reforms.

Despite the fact that Kentucky kicked CCA out of their state mere months ago, they are allowing the company to fill this empty prison to operate as an “assisted living and nursing facility.” Kentucky’s Department of Corrections has made it clear that this is not an initiative they requested or are behind.


Humpday Hall of Shame: De-coding prison profiteering

Despite a combined revenue of more than $3.2 billion in 2012, private prison companies like GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) are typically careful not to highlight the fact that they exist to make a profit.  But, regardless of what their PR teams may lead you to believe, these companies have business models that rest on perverse incentives — the more people they incarcerate the stronger their bottom line. [node:read-more:link]

Outstanding recognition for study on private prisons and people of color

Grassroots Leadership is proud to share an exciting new study by our board member, Christopher Petrella.  Christopher is a doctoral candidate in African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and recently published “The Color of Corporate Corrections, Part II: Contractual Exemptions and the Overrepresentation of People of Color in Private Prisons,” in Radical Criminology.  His research presents two related arguments that are valuable in framing Grassroots Leadership’s commitment to ending for-profit incarceration.

First, Christopher found that people of color are overrepresented in prisons controlled by for-profit management companies relative to public facilities of the same security-level because private prison firms try to maximize the percentage of low-cost, healthy and young individuals they contain. Health and age, therefore, serve as stand-in selection criteria for race without any explicit reference to it. Historical sentencing patterns beginning with the so-called “War on Drugs” have fomented trends whereby prisoners over the age of 50 are disproportionately “non-Hispanic, white” and prisoners under 50 are disproportionately persons of color. Generally, the private prison paradigm is based on one premise: meet shareholder expectation by growing profits and minimizing losses. One of the surest ways to achieve that objective is to limit the number of high-cost prisoners with chronic health conditions through contract exemptions. This practice tends to result in a prisoner profile that is far younger—and healthier—in private prisons relative to public facilities and therefore ultimately yields an over-representation of people of color. Moreover, his research provides an irrefutable example of the ways in which seemingly “race neutral” or "colorblind" carceral policies continue to have a differential impact on communities of color.


Open letter to WV prisoners: Beware of private prisons before signing away your rights

As part of our ongoing efforts to stop the state of West Virginia from shipping prisoners across state lines to private for-profit prisons, Grassroots Leadership is sending an open letter to prisoners in West Virginia to raise awareness of their constitutional rights that are at risk. State lawmakers continue to debate sending prisoners to private facilities run by the Corrections Corporation of America in Kentucky instead of pursuing other options that would truly address the state’s overcrowded prisons issues and would adhere to the state constitution.  Unlike other states that we highlighed in our recent report Locked Up and Shipped Away, West Virginia's constitution bars banishment of prisoners, which places prisoners in a unique and critical role in advocating against CCA profiteering from their transfer.  They have the right to say no and to be incarcerated and rehabilitated within the state of West Virginia.


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