Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hutto Prison Candlelight Vigil

Free the Children of Texas' Hutto Prison

Candlelight Vigil for Families in Detention - Toy Drive
T. Don Hutto prison in Taylor, Texas
Sunday, December 16: speakers and vigil, 4-6pm; pre-vigil walk, 2pm

The T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas, is a for-profit prison operated by Corrections Corporation of America, through an Inter-Governmental Service Agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Williamson County. Since May 2006, immigrant families, about half of them children, have been jailed in the facility while they await asylum or immigration hearings. The prison has been criticized by human rights organizations worldwide as an inappropriate facility for children. An incident involving an "inappropriate sexual relationship" between a CCA staff member and a detainee, and one where an eight-year-old girl was left without her mother for four days have increased scrutiny of Hutto in recent months.

Hutto is not an immigration solution or a national security solution; it merely uses these pressing issues as an excuse for CCA, Williamson County, and countless politicians to enrich themselves on the misery of powerless people. At an occupancy rate of 400 (maximum capacity is 512), CCA pulls at least $7,000 per month per prisoner, or $28,000 for a family of four. The cost to shelter and feed the same family at the Austin Hilton for a month? $14,934, featuring real beds and an enclosed bath in place of prison bunks and a mid-cell commode.

According to studies conducted by the Vera Institute, more humane alternatives, which ICE detailed in a March 2007 memo, are up to fifty percent more cost-effective. A vast majority of immigrants attend their hearings when enrolled in alternative supervisory programs.

Please join immigrant rights advocates, residents of Williamson County, and members of many faith communities in a vigil for families detained at the Hutto prison. The main program will begin at 4:00 pm, with the candlelight vigil starting as the sun sets at 5:00 pm. A walk to the facility from downtown Taylor's Heritage Park starting at 2:00 pm will precede the vigil.

Advocates will also be gathering toys, music players, and books to give to families detained at the prison. Toys must be in their original packaging and cannot be wrapped.

Schedule of Events


2:00pm- Walk From Heritage Park in Taylor (4th & Main) to T. Don Hutto Prison

3:00pm- Gather at T. Don Hutto (1001 Welch) for protest and music.

Vigil Events:

4:00pm - Program with speakers focusing on the immoral detention of families.

5:00pm- Candlelight Vigil and silent remembrance of families in detention.

Please contact Jose Orta at (512) 365-2143 or Bob Libal at (512) 971-0487 or for information regarding the vigil.

Bob Libal
(512) 971-0487
Grassroots Leadership
Austin, Texas

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