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Tuesday, April 25, 2006 

Texas - Home of The New American Concentration Camps

As children we were told how so grateful we lived in a country America and those who were born in Texas, there was something special about being a Texan - it had meaning. But now, America is one step closer to becoming the land of the American Gulag and Texas will be bestowed a new title "Supreme Prison Capital of World."

This week Texas' Williamson County's T. Don Hutto Correctional Center becomes the second facility in the country to house immigrant families. The facility will house "immigrants not from Mexico, but caught in Texas."

T. Don Hutto Correctional Center is a maximum security correctional facility, in Taylor, Texas and is owned and operated by the nation's largest private prison company, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). The same company that gave former House Majority Leader and soon to be former House Rep Tom DeLay a $100,000 check at a fundraiser for his children's charity, the DeLay Foundation for Kids.

According to the Houston Chronicle:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said noncriminal immigration detainees would be held at the Taylor facility. But the agency wouldn't confirm if those included families awaiting deportation, and a spokesman for Corrections Corporation of America declined comment.

"No decisions have been made at this time," said ICE spokeswoman Ernestine Fobbs.
However according CCA's website, an agreement was already reached with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) back in December.
Corrections Corporation of America Announces Agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for CCA Texas Facility
December 2, 2005
Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest provider of corrections management services to government agencies, announced today that it has reached an agreement with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to manage up to 600 detainees at CCA's T. Don Hutto Correctional Center in Taylor, Texas.

CCA management expects to begin accepting ICE detainees on February 1, 2006. Although the contract does not provide for a guaranteed occupancy, the Company expects the facility to be substantially occupied before the end of the second quarter of 2006. The Company intends to provide guidance for 2006 in its fourth quarter earnings release and conference call expected to occur in February 2006.
The Chronicle also reports that separate sleeping quarters will be provided for men and women which will include playpens, cribs and classroom space.

CCA is not the only one make a profit, the Chronicle also noted that the County will also profit for being part of the American Gulag system.
Williamson County will work as an intermediary in billing transactions between Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Corrections Corporation of America. The county would earn $1 per day for each inmate, or about $200,000 each year, if the facility is at capacity, said Rick Zinsmeyer, county director of adult probation.
CCA is just another cog of the huge private prison industry that is profiting from the destruction of human lives. Like a festering tumor it just keeps growing and growing, reaching out to victimize both the incarcerated and the incarcerators.

According to ICE, the average detention is about one month, although some are kept for several years, like Salah Dafali. In September 2003, a jury found CCA guilty of both assault and battery against Salah Dafali, a Palestinian who was housed at a 300 bed facility housing primarily asylum seekers. According to Mark Dow, author of American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons, the suit alleged that CCA
operated the Elizabeth [NJ] facility under a policy or practice that authorized CCA staff to use abusive practices to control and discipline the refugees detained at the Elizabeth facility. ... INS detained him in Elizabeth, refusing to deport him, as he requested. CCA officers allegedly threatened to send Dafali to a county jail to be sexually assaulted by other inmates. They also sexually threatened him themselves. Dafali met INS detainees who had been held at Elizabeth for two and three years, so he believed it when officers threatened to keep him there for fifteen. He finally cut his wrists and began having "tantrums," according to Brogna. Dafali also began a hunger strike. He was forced into four-point restraints. While he was restrained, the CCA chief of security allegedly hit him in the face. The water to Dafali’s isolation cell was cut off, according to CCA’s own records. A former employee of TransCor America—CCA's subsidiary prisoner transportation company—testified that he saw "a bootprint" on Dafali's face shortly after Dafali was "tagged up" or assaulted; CCA records called the wound "self-inflicted." A CCA videotape of the assault on Dafali ends abruptly. A CCA official testified that the battery had run out. Aboyade, who had been in a nearby cell, testified that the security chief ordered the camera off of Dafali, who was begging officers to stop. A CCA shift supervisor took Polaroids of the injured Dafali; court documents note that CCA failed to produce these in the course of litigation and provided no explanation. (Polaroids of Dafali taken by an INS official were in evidence, however.) "They beat me on the 28th," Dafali told me; "they transferred me on the 29th." He was detained for a total of forty-one months and remains subject to detention and deportation at the agency's discretion.
The Hutto Correctional Center is not the only facility that CCA has with ICE, CCA also several Processing and Detention Centers in TX. Those own by CCA are:
  • Eden Detention Center - a male Medium-security facility with 1,287 beds located in Eden TX;
  • Laredo Processing Center - a 350 bed facility located in the eastern outskirts of Laredo, TX;
  • Houston Contract Detention Facility - a male Medium-security with 411 beds
Many detainees are not just housed at facilities run by Corrections Corporation of America, they are housed also at facilities run by GEO Group, formerly Wackenhut. According to a February article in the Dallas Morning News, Texas "has at least 7,000 recently built or proposed private prison beds for housing immigrant detainees for ICE or the U.S. Marshals."

Currently three companies, Corrections Corporation of America, The Geo Group, and Cornell, are competing for the rights to run the nation's "super jail" that is planned to be built in Laredo. The new 2,800 bed detention center would be considered the largest privately owned prison. The facility will house nonviolent immigrants. This facility will make Laredo, TX the "Huntsville" of South Texas.

As the Senate gears up to bring up the immigration issue again and the Department of Homeland Security's recent round-ups, it is not hard to spot the private prison profiteers because they are the ones currently with dollar signs in their eyes as the invasion thousands of undocumented immigrants being dumped into their torture chambers depriving them of all that makes a person human.

"Land of the Free and Home of the Incarcerated."

(Hat Tip to Stace Medellin at Dos Centavos for bringing this our attention.)


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  • From Tejas, United States
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