(CONROE, Texas) — Montgomery County residents rallied yesterday outside the County Commissioners building against the new 1,000-bed detention center being built right next to the existing Joe Corley Detention Center and Montgomery County Mental Health Facility. The White Construction Company has already broken ground on the new facility, called the Montgomery ICE Processing Center according to a sign at the construction site.
"As a resident of Montgomery County and a volunteer with both Black Lives Matter Houston and Indivisible Spring/Montgomery County, I'm deeply troubled and outraged by the planned expansion of the Joe Corley Detention Center,” said John Miller. “Our local and county government officials have given a blank check to an amoral corporation with a shameful record of human rights abuses and lack of accountability. These officials have done this with little or no transparency or public comment. We will do everything we can to resist this expansion and defend the rights of undocumented residents."
The facility will be operated by GEO Group, the same private prison corporation that operates the Joe Corley Detention Center, which was the site of a 2015 hunger strike and is currently named in an OIG complaint filed by civil rights organization CIVIC on behalf of individuals alleging t
Douglas Menjivar, who joined yesterday’s protest, was detained at Joe Corley for years and is a party to the CIVIC complaint.
“I was sexually assaulted inside of Conroe [Joe Corley Detention Center]. I spoke with a person who worked there and he didn’t do anything. The second time I ran fleeing from the same people and I split open my head,” said Douglas Menjivar. “Truthfully, it’s sad when you don’t have anyone in this country to buy food inside of the detention center. I would have had to work 8 days to buy a package of coffee. I was very hungry and I only watched others who were drinking coca cola, eating pan dulce, soup, and coffee and I didn’t have a cent to buy that. My stomach was constantly growling with hunger.”
Residents vowed that they would continue to protest the detention center.
“I don’t want a GEO-owned prison in my town knowing that human rights abuses happen all the time there and the detainees are treated horribly, with no recreational time outside, and having to work more than five hours a day to make a dollar,” said Sandra Gutierrez, a Montgomery County resident who helped organize the protest. “It’s an inhumane life inside a GEO-owned prison, and I don’t want that in my town.”
Bethany Carson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 512-499-8111