"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." [node:read-more:link]
Grassroots Leadership In The News
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. [node:read-more:link]
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. [node:read-more:link]
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.
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. [node:read-more:link]
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. [node:read-more:link]
“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.” [node:read-more:link]
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 [node:read-more:link]
“This is an industry that thrives when no one is paying attention," Libal said. "This is an industry that uses campaign contributions and its lobbying influence to win contracts and to maintain contracts even when there is ample evidence that these contracts should be ended. And I think there is probably no better example than what is happening here in Texas right now.” [node:read-more:link]
Today's show shines a spotlight on the private prison system, with help from two of its fiercest critics: the head of Grassroots Leadership, which has helped curb some of the industry's worst excesses, and a former private-prison inmate who tells how he, during his incarceration, helped stop a massive private prison expansion... and then beat the prison company that tried to retaliate against him. [node:read-more:link]
"Obviously, it's very good news from our perspective," said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, a group that monitors civil rights abuses at the detention centers. "It's obvious that the rationale for detaining all of these people was clearly not justified in the first place if they're now able to release them." [node:read-more:link]
On the one hand, a pathway to citizenship and legal reforms sought by advocates could reduce the number of immigrants detained by CCA and its competitors in the private prison industry. “Private prison corporations have an enormous stake in immigration reform,” says Bob Libal, a prison reform advocate with Grassroots Leadership. “A reform that provides a timely pathway to citizenship without further criminalizing migration would be a huge hit to the industry,” he says. [node:read-more:link]
Yesterday, two advocacy groups, The Sentencing Project and Grassroots Leadership,released a report summarizing the case for closing Dawson—primarily that it could save the state $24 million a year. That’s not counting how much the state could make by selling the property on which Dawson sits, a riverside plot in downtown Dallas that the city has been clamoring to develop for years. [node:read-more:link]
Meanwhile the Grassroots Leadership (based out of North Carolina, with offices in Austin) and The Sentencing Project reiterated their call for closing the jail. Last month the coalition said it should be closed for myriad reasons, among them a handful of health-related deaths at the Dawson State Jail in recent years.
“Dawson has a well-documented history of neglect of incarcerated people, in many cases resulting in death,” says Grassroots Leadership’s Kymberlie Quong Charles in a release issued this morning.
“Unfortunately, these problems are common in prisons run for profit by corporations. How many more people will have to die before this facility is closed?” [node:read-more:link]