Humpday Hall of Shame

Humpday Hall of Shame: Yes, Austin. You have a deportation crisis.

People have been saying for years that there is a deportation crisis in Travis County, Texas, fueled by the federal S-Comm (Secure Communities) program in the jail. 

New data released Tuesday shows just how bad things have gotten. According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, over the last two years ICE and Sheriff Greg Hamilton have been particularly busy rounding up Austin-area residents.  

From 2013-2014, ICE placed a total of 5,507 “holds” on individuals in Travis County Jail. A hold is a request from the federal government that the jail “hold” someone for two extra days so that ICE can come investigate. The cause for ICE’s investigation can be very flimsy. For example, if they don’t have the fingerprints on record and the individual just happens to have a Hispanic last name. It’s no small wonder they have issued thousands of holds here.

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Hump Day Hall of Shame: Securus video service replaces in person visits, violates attorney-client privilege in Travis County

Thanks to the Texas Civil Rights Project, Grassroots Leadership recently learned about and testified against the removal of in-person visits at the Travis County Jail. This harmful policy has limited all visiting rights to computer-based interactions even if loved ones physically visit the jail. The provider of the video conferencing technology is a private Dallas-based company, Securus, which makes $30 million each year on contracting call and video visitation services with jails and prisons.
 

The video “visitation” system, which costs $20 for 20 minutes, puts additional financial hardship on families, has a history of not working but still charging users, and has been used to violate attorney-client privilege through the recording and sharing of conversations.

Hump Day Hall of Shame: Corizon exposes people in Arizona prison to hepatitis

Last week, Corizon, a for-profit correctional healthcare company receiving $372 million from Arizona taxpayers, infected 24 incarcerated people with Hepatitis B and C. The life threatening exposures occurred when a nurse disregarded proper injection protocol, said Clarisse Tsang, the Department of Health Services hepatitis-prevention coordinator. Despite public concern for the lives of those incarcerated in the Arizona jail, Corizon did not make a statement about exposing patients to natural born pathogens until three days later, and still refuses to answer more specific questions.

West Virginia Poised to Join Shameful Trend of Shipping Prisoners Out-of-State

In October we caught wind that West Virginia Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein is looking to transfer and house up to 400 prisoners out-of-state in attempts to alleviate prison overcrowding at home.  

According to the West Virginia Gazette, representatives from two private prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and Community Education Centers (CEC) — attended a mandatory pre-bid conference and were able to submit bids for the contract on November 5th.  The conference was open to other state departments interested in bidding on the deal, but only the two private contractors attended to express interest.  The opening of those bids has been postponed twice. They are now set for December 5th.    

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Arizona's Death Yards | Prisoner Deaths Under Privatized Medical Care

Increasingly, when Grassroots Leadership talks about for-profit prison privatization, we are talking about not only the private ownership or operation of prisons, jails, and detention centers, but we are talking about a monstrous field of prison-related privatization.  This field includes re-entry programs, halfway houses, “alternatives” to incarceration, as well as food services, transportation, and healthcare delivered to those incarcerated in both privately and publicly operated facilities.  As it becomes more and more difficult for for-profit private prison companies to procure new contracts due to decreasing rates of incarceration and other factors, other arms of the industry have adapted so that profits continue to be reaped on the backs of those behind bars.   

 

Similar to our findings on the pitfalls of management and operation of prisons by for-profit private companies, anecdotally we have found that the privatization of services also compromises the health, safety and well-being of prisoners.

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