Austin, TX - The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) announced yestarday that they are awarding a tentative five year contract to GEO Care, a spin off and former subsidiary of private prison company GEO Group, to operate Terrell State Hospital. Texas HHSC hopes to have a decision on whether or not the state will enter a contract by the end of the year. This award comes as a result of a HHSC Request For Proposals (RFP), issued on June 9, 2014. Read more about Advocacy groups express concerns about tentative contract with GEO Care to operate Terrell State Hospital
A report released this morning by Grassroots Leadership and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition found that disciplinary infractions, assaults and contraband cases all increased within the year after the video-only policy was put in place. The report concedes that the trends may be an aberration or temporary but cites social science and long-standing prison policies holding that visitations improves jail security and lowers recidivism rates. Read more about Backlash brewing against video-only jail visitation
Travis County started using video-visitation in 2013, but a recent study by Grassroots Leadership and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition says it has only resulted in more violence and more contraband in the jail. Read more about Video-visitation plan coming to Bexar County Jail
(AUSTIN, Texas) — Federal officials today announced plans for the nation’s largest immigrant detention center to detain asylum-seeking children with their parents. The facility, to be located in the remote south Texas town of Dilley, will be the nation’s largest immigrant detention center at 2,400 beds. Read more about Ignoring history and human rights, Feds confirm plans for massive family detention center to lock up asylum-seeking kids with their parents
Bartlett, TX -- Grassroots Leadership and its allies are shocked and disturbed to learn of the latest lawsuit against for-profit private prison company, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), for its complicity in what appears to be widespread sexual abuse and assault at their Bartlett State Jail facility. Read more about Secrecy, Sexual Assault and Hazing Plague Texas Private Prison
La organización Texanos Unidos por las Familias (TUF, por sus siglas en inglés) inició este miércoles una campaña para pedir al gobierno federal que minimice el número de familias indocumentadas detenidas recientemente en la frontera a las que interna en centros de detención.
Miembros de TUF, que participaron esta mañana en una conferencia de prensa celebrada en Austin, recalcaron que uno de los problemas que implican los centros de detención es que para los detenidos tener acceso a representación legal se complica mucho.
Uno de los centros de detención a los que las autoridades están llevando a algunas de las familias indocumentadas es el que está ubicado en Karnes City, en Texas, concretamente 60 millas al sureste de San Antonio. Otro de los centros de detención de familias indocumentadas está en Artesia (Nuevo México).
“Es un centro (de detención) que está en medio de la nada, es muy remoto y allí no hay servicios legales pro-bono”, comentó sobre el centro de Karnes City Bob Libal, director ejecutivo de Grassroots Leadership, uno de los grupos que forman parte de TUF.
Libal añadió que la mayoría de familias a las que intenta defender la campaña de TUF están formadas por madres e hijos, aunque en algunos casos también hay padres. Read more about Texanos Unidos por las Familias pide no internar familias indocumentadas en centros de detención
Earlier this month, we shared our petition to stop eavesdropping on prisoners at the Travis County Jail, where in-person visits have been replaced by a for-profit video conferencing service.
Now, Jazmine Ulloa with the Austin-American Statesman has published the story, "Are there privacy flaws in inmate call systems?", sounding the alarm on phone calls between prisoners and their lawyers being unlawfully recorded at the Travis County Jail and Securus, the private company that's cashing in on it. Our friends at Texas Civil Rights Project and the Prison Justice League have filed suit.Read more about Take action: Pressure mounts at Travis County Jail to stop "unconstitutional eavesdropping"
On Saturday, July 12, Texans United for Families (TUFF) joined immigrant rights advocates and organizers from around Texas gathered to shine a light on the inappropriate and dangerous conditions at the Jack Harwell Detention Center in Waco. Read more about Texans target Waco detention center after reports of sub-standard conditions for immigrants
“This center was meant to be a prison, it was meant to hold people with criminal convictions, not to hold people who are there on civil immigration matters,” said Cristina Parker, Grassroots Leadership Immigration Projects Coordinator. Read more about Activists protest illegal immigrant detention in Waco
Last month, members from Texans United for Families, Grassroots Leadership, the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, and the Hutto Visitation Program wrote a joint letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement asking them to shut down the Harwell Center as a result of what they call limited " medical care, visitation, recreation, dirty uniforms, a lack of access to legal processes and attorneys, and the penal nature of the facility." Read more about Grassroots Activists Stand Up For Immigrants' Rights