The T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, is one of the hundreds of prisons for immigrants in the U.S. The facility now detains only women, most of whom are seeking asylum in the U.S., but it has a darker past as a place where immigrant families, including young children and babies, were once put behind bars. Shortly after winning the end of family detention at Hutto in 2009, Grassroots Leadership began coordinating visitors to Hutto who made sure that the women there knew they were not forgotten. Hutto visitors serve as human rights observers of the facility’s conditions, help break the isolation of detention for women in Hutto, and create new advocates for detention reform. Our program serves as a model for others and Grassroots Leadership is working with organizations across Texas to build new visitation programs.
This video shows poweful testimony about how meaningful visits are to people detained in facilities like the the T. Don Hutto Detention Center.
BUILDING VISITATION PROGRAMS IN TEXAS
If your congregation or community is concerned about incarceration, we can help you start thinking about a visitation program in your area. We’ll help you ask the right questions about the facilities that are in your locale and which enforcement agencies – municipal, county, federal or ICE – manage them. We’ll help you think through the resources you have as well as the training, permissions, and documentation you’ll need.
Grassroots Leadership offers training and counsel based on its successful Immigrant Detention Visitation Program at the T. Don Hutto facility in Texas, a program we manage in conjunction with the Social Justice Institute at the University of Texas and Texans United for Families.
We offer a comprehensive introduction to the private prison and detention center industry in this country, and an overview of immigration and criminal justice issues that create the burgeoning growth of incarceration and its impact on legislation.
Our training offers an introduction to criminal justice and immigration and detention terminology; an understanding of the process of arrest through incarceration or detention; the legal immigration process today; examples of prisoner visitation and support across the nation representing many different kinds of programming; an overview of the Women’s Campaign and a walk through our Hutto Visitation Program. You will decide whether or not you will begin a visitation or support program and how it will be built and resourced. We will help you in those first crucial steps.
If you are interested in helping initiate a program in your community, please contact us.