Grassroots Leadership In The News

Jan 14, 2014
Austin Monitor

Civil rights groups: Video jail visits too costly, may be violating civil rights

“Every person in the Travis County jail is someone’s son or daughter. Many are married; many have young children. Their families are often desperate to see them, out of love and conscience. They should not carry the weight of an arbitrary tax, simply to line a contractor’s pockets, and they should be allowed to see their loved-ones in person.”-- Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. [node:read-more:link]

Jan 1, 2014

New Year's resolutions for the left: What liberals can win in 2014

End out-of-state prisoner transfers: “The findings of our report last month showed that there are more than 10,500 prisoners that are shipped across state lines to for-profit prisons from four sending states: Hawaii, California, Idaho and Vermont. In 2014, I’m hopeful that at least one of those states will end the practice of shipping prisoners out of state while developing common-sense ways to reduce prison overcrowding.” — Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership

Dec 9, 2013
West Virginia News Service

Out-of-State Private Prisons “Expensive Quagmires”

Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, said what is sold as a cheap, short-term solution often turns into an expensive quagmire. For-profit prisons have a terrible record for medical care and staffing, he said, with poorly trained guards. "They are very violent facilities with understaffing, scandals, lawsuits, mismanagement. The way that private prison corporations make a profit is they cut corners," Libal charged. 

Dec 4, 2013
Fort Worth Weekly

Far From Home

In the report, prepared for an Austin-based nonprofit called Grassroots Leadership, Kirby concluded that interstate transfers of inmates, intended to relieve overcrowding in the originating states, ultimately does nothing to enhance the public good. The practice, she said, serves only the “interests of an industry that views prisoners as commodities and perpetuates our nation’s mass incarceration crisis.”

Dec 4, 2013
The Hutto News

Activists remember detained immigrants

The Son Armado, Las Krudas y Kiko Villamizar Concert for Immigration Prisoners was held Sunday afternoon from outside of the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor. It is a guarded, fenced-in, multi-purpose facility used to detain non-U.S. citizens awaiting the outcome of their immigration status. Texas United for Families, Grassroots Leadership, LULAC, Get Equal Texas, The Union, T. Don Hutto Visitation Program and a couple of student organizations from St. Edward’s University attended the event. [node:read-more:link]

Nov 30, 2013
The Charleston Gazette

Statehouse Beat: Private prison company looking at W.Va.

Most recently, Charlotte-based Grassroots Leadership published a report, "Locked Up and Shipped Away: Interstate Prisoner Transfers and the Private Prison Industry," which looked at four states - California, Hawaii, Vermont and Idaho - that house inmates in out-of-state Corrections Corporation of America prisons.  "Nothing runs more contrary to the goals of public safety, rehabilitation, and justice than an industry that profits from keeping people caged," the report concludes.

Nov 30, 2013
Valley News

Editorial: Vermont Should Stop Shipping Prison Inmates Out of State

Vermont considers itself a pretty enlightened place, and in many ways, it is. But it also has its blind spots. One of them was cast in sharp relief last week in a report that highlighted Vermont’s practice of shipping prison inmates out of state to be incarcerated in privately run, for-profit correctional facilities. This ought to be halted sooner rather than later, and not merely so the state can look at itself in the progressive mirror again. As a matter of public policy, it is inhumane, expensive and counterproductive. The report was released by a North Carolina-based organization called Grassroots Leadership, which describes itself as a social justice organization. It points out that Vermont is one of four states that export inmates to for-profit prisons, the others being California, Hawaii and Idaho.

Nov 22, 2013

Humans shipped across the country: How America exports inmates to private prisons

Over 10,500 U.S. prisoners are currently being held in private prisons hundreds or thousands of miles away from the states that sent them there, according to a new report from the progressive group Grassroots Leadership. “The practice of shipping prisoners out of state is costly, it’s unsustainable, it’s hurting families …” report author Holly Kirby told reporters Wednesday. “These transfers allow states to avoid making common-sense reforms.”

Nov 21, 2013
St. Albans Messenger

Prison Pop. Still Growing

Despite efforts to increase use of court diversion, reparative boards and other alternatives to incarceration, Vermont's prison population is increasing, with the state still sending 400 to 500 prisoners to facilities operated for profit by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). ... Grassroots Leadership, a national social justice organization, argues that sending prisoners out of state increases recidivism by impeding rehabilitation of prisoners.

Nov 20, 2013
Burlington Free Press

Study criticizes Vermont for private-prison use

Vermont is one of only four states that sends some of its prisoners to out-of-state, privately run jails, a practice sharply criticized in a new study. “The interstate transfer of prisoners is a costly band-aid, not a root cause solution, to the problem of prison overcrowding and our nation’s mass imprisonment crisis,” the study by the Austin, Texas-based Grassroots Leadership group concluded. “On the contrary, it perpetuates our broken justice system.”

Nov 20, 2013
Hawai'i Free Press

Locked Up & Shipped Away: New report exposes private prisons profiting from sending prisons far from home

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. [node:read-more:link]

Nov 20, 2013
Hawai'i Reporter

REPORT: Over 10,500 Prisoners from CA, VT, ID and HI are Incarcerated in Out of State Prisons

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. [node:read-more:link]

Nov 20, 2013
KTVB Boise, Idaho

Study says shipping prisoners out of state is bad for them and for state

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." [node:read-more:link]

Oct 26, 2013

President Obama and Attorney General Holder: End the For-Profit Operation Streamline Scheme Now!

[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. [node:read-more:link]

Aug 30, 2013
HuffPost Politics

U.S. Must End War on Immigrants and Addiction to Private Prisons As Well

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. [node:read-more:link]

Aug 28, 2013
The Atlantic

The Winners in Immigration Control: Private Prisons

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."