While shipping prisoners away hurts families, it also funnels hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars every year into the for-profit prison industry. Today conducted a telefonic press conference with advocates in all four states that send prisoners out-of-state along with family members of those incarcerated calling for the end of this shameful practice. Read more about Locked Up & Shipped Away: New report exposes private prisons profiting from sending prisons far from home
Grassroots Leadership In The News
In a new report released today, November 20th, Grassroots Leadership, a 33-year old Southern-based national social justice organization that works to end for-profit incarceration, documents the widespread practice of transferring prisoners from California, Vermont, Hawaii and Idaho across state lines to for-profit private prison facilities. Read more about REPORT: Over 10,500 Prisoners from CA, VT, ID and HI are Incarcerated in Out of State Prisons
The new study is by Grassroots Leadership, an organization that wants to end private prisons. They claim that shipping prisoners out of state to private prisons costs too much, and takes prisoners too far from their families, which hurts their chances of rehabilitating. Holly Kirby, a researcher for Grassroots Leadership says, "It's clear that the practice of shipping prisoners out of state is costly, unsustainable, and hurting families." Read more about Study says shipping prisoners out of state is bad for them and for state
The federal government would do well to follow the example of states in reducing the prison population. It can start by ending Operation Streamline and directing United States attorneys to redirect their energies away from criminally prosecuting border-crossers. Read more about Crossing the Border, and Into Federal Prisons
[Operation Streamline's] existence is unique, not just in the United States, but to the world. And there is a good reason for that. There isn’t even any pretense of justice - not our opinion, but that of the attorneys who have told us as much. Also, our vocabulary seems to be inadequate to describe this obscene operation. Suffice to say it is both a scheme to criminalize migrants and a scheme to enrich private prison corporations. The Grassroots Leadership organization estimates that the cost of the program may be higher than $400 million per year. Read more about President Obama and Attorney General Holder: End the For-Profit Operation Streamline Scheme Now!
If the government is serious about reducing the federal prison population, it must end its reliance on for-profit prisons and repeal costly programs that have made immigrants the fastest growing part of the federal prison population. It can start by repealing Operation Streamline and directing U.S. Attorneys to stop prosecuting tens of thousands of immigrants for nothing more than crossing the border. Read more about U.S. Must End War on Immigrants and Addiction to Private Prisons As Well
But immigrant advocates say the private prison industry is always lobbying for more detention beds. And the consequences of government spending on prison beds can be profound, said Bob Libal, director of Grassroots Leadership, an immigration advocacy group. Congress has appropriated funds to pay for housing 34,000 illegal immigrants a day, and ICE officials "interpret that as a mandate to fill those beds regardless of what the situation outside is," said Libal. "It keeps people in detention and helps [companies'] bottom line, because half of those 34,000 beds are operated by private prison corporations."
"The war on immigrants is surpassing efforts to reform the war on drugs," said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, a criminal justice advocacy group. "We will not be able to reduce the federal prison population unless we stop prosecuting so many people for immigration violations." Read more about War on Undocumented Immigrants Threatens to Swell U.S. Prison Population
The federal government spends $1 billion per year on jailing immigration defendants, according to Grassroots Leadership, a non-profit dedicated to fighting private prisons. As Sam Sparks, a federal district judge in Austin stated, the cost of immigration prosecutions, in which the immigrant doesn’t have a significant criminal record, is “simply mind boggling.”
"For-profit prisons are the wrong choice for Texas and the wrong choice for McAllen," according to the three-page letter. "We urge you to abandon plans to contract with a private prison company to construct a for-profit prison in McAllen." An attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union and the executive director of Grassroots Leadership, an advocacy group opposed to private prisons, met with Mayor Jim Darling on Thursday. They discussed concerns about inmate conditions, lawsuits and staffing at private prisons. Read more about 50 groups sign letter opposing McAllen's private jail project
Though the private prison industry has denied lobbying directly for prison reform (although executives have acknowledged how their businesses stand to profit), the enforcement-heavy proposals bear the fingerprints of the industry's longstanding backdoor political influence. Research by Grassroots Leadership, Detention Watch and various media outlets reveals that private prisons have spent millions on federal lobbying, and in the last election season alone, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the coffers of governors, federal candidates and both political parties. Read more about ‘Bargain’ on Immigration Would Feed Prison Profits
Grassroots Leadership, a multi-racial organization working to end social and economic oppression, exposed the sordid and controversial history of the “nation’s oldest and largest for-profit private prison corporation” in the report titled, “THE DIRTY THIRTY: Nothing to Celebrate About 30 Years of Corrections Corporation of America.” The report chronicled a history of prisoner abuse, escapes, poor labor conditions, and lawsuits.
But there's one gift the world's largest private-prison operator isn't eager to open -- a new report by the incarceration reformers at Grassroots Leadership, listing thirty of the company's worst instances of mismanagement, folly, riot and scandal as its profits have swelled with the prison boom over the past three decades.
Grassroots Leadership, which released the study Thursday, bills itself as "a multiracial team of organizers who help Southern and Southwest community, labor, faith, and campus organizations think critically, work strategically and take direct action to end social and economic oppression, gain power, and achieve justice and equity." Those on the conference call preceding the report's release reflected the forces pushing the study, with representatives from Human Rights Defense Center, NAACP, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees lending their support to the report's findings.
Interesting new report from advocates against private prisons. Grassroots Leadership has the full PDF here, which takes aim at Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a publicly traded company celebrating its 30th year in existence this year. Read more about 'Just Like Selling Hamburgers:' 30 Years of Private Prisons in the U.S.
Austin-based nonprofits Grassroots Leadership and Texans United for Families organized the caravan, part of the national Detention Watch Network’s “Expose and Close” campaign, which calls for the immediate closure of 10 U.S. detention centers, including Polk County. Read more about Father's Day at the Controversial Polk County Detention Center
Grassroots Leadership and Texans United for Families will conduct a vigil and protest outside of Polk County Adult Detention Facility this Saturday. [...]
“Most of the men there are in small, eight person cells”, says Piper Madison, Texas organizer of Grassroots Leadership. “There’s no natural lighting, there’s no privacy. They spend up to 23 hours a day in the same 600 square feet with seven other people”.
“Estar allí, separados de sus familias es simplemente enfermizo para nuestra comunidad y nuestro país”, dice Piper Madison, organizadora y activista de la coalición Texas United for Families (Texas Unida por las Familias), en referencia a los adultos que permanecen detenidos por la irregularidad de su estatus, y separados de sus hijos. Read more about Detenciones de indocumentados activan protesta en Houston
“This victory gives us tremendous hope and momentum,” says Kymberlie Quong Charles of Grassroots Leadership, a coalition of groups that’s been pushing for Dawson’s closure. “Texas is the birthplace of the modern private prison industry. If we can get the Texas legislature to agree that private facilities are not working for our state, that’s good news for the national movement against for-profit prisons.” Read more about State budget moves to close Dawson State Jail on banks of the Trinity River. But TDCJ still has final say.
Bob Libal is with Grassroots Leadership, an activist group opposed to private prisons. He questioned whether the staffing was adequate at the Eloy facility and he points to a recent lawsuit against CCA in Idaho where the company admitted it had falsified staffing records.
"So I do think that there’s a chronic problem with staffing at some of these facilities,” Libal said Read more about Following Detainee Deaths, Critics Question ICE Use Of Private Prisons