Dawson State Jail

Humpday Hall of Shame | CCA-run state jails prove unsafe (again) for prisoners

Thanks to a lawsuit filed by Edwards Law in Austin, TX on September 3rd, a veil of secrecy around rampant sexual abuse and staff misconduct is being lifted at CCA-run Bartlett State Jail in Bartlett, TX.  In particular, the suit sheds light on acute staff incompetence and most disturbingly, a well-known hazing ritual known by prisoners and prison staff alike as “ass on the glass.”


Victory in Texas - The Dawson State Jail Will Close!

Grassroots Leadership and our allies are celebrating today as the Texas Department of Crim

Int'l Women's Day Vigil
inal Justice has announced that the notorious Dawson State Jail and Mineral Wells Pre-Parole Transfer Facility - both operated by for-profit prison company Corrections Corporation of America - will close on August 31st, according to reports in the press, including the Dallas Morning News. 


Another Bad Party: CCA "Celebrates" Women's History Month While Women Perish at Dawson State Jail

Last month we were nauseated by Corrections Corporation of America’s “celebration” of Black History Month.  In a message from CCA President and CEO Damon Hininger, citing Dr. King’s legacy and the second inauguration of President Obama, the company touted themselves as one that values progress, equality, and diversity.  Dr. Niaz Kasravi, Director of the NAACP Criminal Justice Program, in response to Hininger’s message stated, “we believe that there is nothing to celebrate about an industry that has built a fortune on the incarceration of people of color”.

This month CCA is at it again with their commemoration of Women’s History Month – “celebrating women’s contributions to history and society”.  A few days ago, the country’s oldest and largest private prison corporation posted an article on their website that oozed with pride for their female CCA employees who “continue to make history and challenge old ideas by advancing in corrections”.

The article cites two female CCA employees who have ascended to leadership roles within the company, in addition to two women who serve on the CCA board of directors.  The women are lauded for “challenging stereotypes” and the “unique contributions” they bring to the workplace.  Twice women are quoted expressing their gratitude to men who have mentored them and helped them to succeed… a view that seems to support old ideas rather than challenge them. 


New Grassroots Leadership Report, Petition Call for Closure of Dawson State Jail

Today, Grassroots Leadership and a coalition of groups representing criminal justice, civil liberties, policy, and faith organizations released a report, detailing abuses at the privately-run Dawson State Jail in Dallas and outlining further rationale for closing the facility. The report is co-authored by Texas-based Grassroots Leadership and The Sentencing Project, a national organization working for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system.

Hump Day Hall of Shame: Short-term Sentences Become Death Sentences at Dawson State Jail

Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame:  Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.

In 1997 the state of Texas built the Dawson State Jail, a Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)-operated, medium-security, co-gender prison facility in downtown Dallas.  “State jails” are prisons in Texas designed to incarcerate people convicted of nonviolent offenses serving short sentences of two years or less close to their homes.  The creation of the state jail system was a response to overcrowding in state prisons in the early 1990s.  The introduction of state jails into the corrections system was supposed to alleviate overcrowding in the more expensive, maximum security state facilities and create a greater ability to provide people convicted of nonviolent offenses supports to get them in and out of the system quickly and back into society.

At Dawson, however, far too many people have entered what are supposed to be six-month to two-year stints, and have died inside the prison of medically treatable conditions.  


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