“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]
Grassroots Leadership In The News
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
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.
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.”
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]
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.
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.
Private prison operators are making more than $300 million a year just to house inmates shipped out of their home states, according to a new report from the progressive group Grassroots Leadership. [node:read-more:link]
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.”
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.
Holly Kirby of Grassroots Leadership, a 33-year old national social justice organization, estimates in her report "Locked Up and Shipped Away" that a combined total of $320 million will be spent this year by California, Hawaii, Idaho and Vermont, to send their inmates between 450 and 3,000 miles from home. [node:read-more:link]
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.”
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]
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]
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]
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. [node:read-more:link]
[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]
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]
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."