Monday, August 23, 2010

CCA Detention Officer Admits Groping Women

Originally found here.

Detention officer admits groping women
Hutto immigration facility employee faces charges

Updated: Friday, 20 Aug 2010, 6:45 PM CDT
Published : Thursday, 19 Aug 2010, 5:24 PM CDT

Jarrod Wise
Jackie Vega

TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) - A former employee of a federal immigration detention center has been arrested after police say he admitted to groping several women he was supposed to be transporting to the airport after being released on bond.

Donald Charles Dunn, 30, a resident supervisor at the T. Don Hutto facility in Taylor and employee of Correction Corporation of America, told officers that on these trips, "he told the women he was going to 'frisk' them and then inappropriately touched their breasts, crotch and buttocks," according to a news release by the Williamson County Sheriff's Office.

"Mr. Dunn advised that he didn’t do this for safety concerns but as self gratification," the release said. "Mr. Dunn indicated to Detectives that he had done this to numerous other women while performing his duties as a transport officer."

Dunn told officers he had done this with several women, while he was transporting them late at night, and would stop at several locations in Williamson and Travis counties to abuse them on the way to Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

The women were being given the rides to the airport and bus stations as a courtesy while they were out on bond, awaiting immigration hearings.

"So, I'm sick of the lack of oversight that got us here and I am disgusted with the continued failure to adequately manage this facility," said Lisa Grabill with the Texas ACLU.

The first report came on May 11, 2010 , when Austin police told Williamson County Sheriff's deputies that a woman had alerted an airport official that she had been abused on the way to the airport from the facility in Taylor. That's when detectives met with Dunn and listened to his description of groping "numerous women" while doing his duties as a transport officer.

"The only reason we know about this is that one of these women said to an airport transportation person, this isn't supposed to happen in this country is it? And the fact that question even has to be asked is what I find so devastating about this situation," said Graybill.

Graybill has been following the problems and criticism the facility has had since they opened in 2006.

"Opposite sex transport officers are not supposed to be alone with detainees, and that happened not once, not twice, but apparently as many as 10 times leaving these women vulnerable to abuse," she said.

"A large scale investigation into the current locations of other possible victims began immediately after Mr. Dunn’s interview," the news release said. "Detectives from Williamson County and Immigration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Office of Professional Responsibility/San Antonio) set out to make contact with several of the possible victims, who had located across the country since bonding out of the facility.

"Mr. Dunn was subsequently terminated from his contract employment with Correction Corporation of America when the allegation was first reported to authorities."

The investigation revealed that all of the possible victims of Mr. Dunn had been released on bond from the facility and were being transported to the Austin-Bergstrom Airport or bus station when the attacks occurred.

It was during these "courtesy transports" that Dunn would stop at different locations in the areas of both Travis and Williamson County.

Three women said they'd been inappropriately touched.Two of those victims said they were taken against their will to a location near a convenience store, during which one woman said she thought she'd either be killed or raped.

"Several (other) women who were interviewed denied any contact with Mr. Dunn," the statement read. "Some of those advised that they were transported in the daylight hours and or it was raining. Several women could not be located for questioning because of out of date addresses with Immigration and Customs Enforcement."

Dunn was arrested on Thursday around 5 p.m. in Austin and was jailed on $35,000 bond. He faces three counts of official oppression and two counts of unlawful restraint.

The investigation is still ongoing at this time. Anyone having information about a victim or Mr. Dunn’s crimes is encouraged to call the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office at 512-943-1300 or the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

According to the news release:

The T. Don Hutto facility opened in May, 2006 as a family residential facility housing families while they awaited their immigration hearings or decisions The facility changed over to housing females in a separate area of the facility in February, 2008 and in September, 2009 the entire facility began housing only females. The facility is operated under an Immigration and Customs Intergovernmental Service Agreement with Williamson County. Williamson County contracts with Corrections Corporation of America for the facility's day-to-day operation. A new agreement with Williamson County became effective February 1, 2010. The facility employees 169 Correction Corporation of America Staff, 30 U.S. Immigration and Customs

Sunday, August 22, 2010

CCA decides to throw out Max Security Prisoners in Oklahoma for more profitable ICE detainees

"We've openly been marketing our empty prisons," Steve Owen said. "There is a demand and a need for prison services." Apparently by empty beds he also means beds that have Oklahoma minimum and maximum security prisoners sleeping in them.

It appears that CCA is now dumping prisoners back onto states in order to sign more lucrative (PROFITABLE!) contracts with the federal government. Looks like Oklahoma taxpayers are going to lose millions and have to scramble to find beds for these prisoners. Or maybe just let a bunch of convicts loose on the good citizens in Oklahoma if no beds are available. I would imagine that on top of a higher per diem rate CCA will also be laying off workers from these three prisons. ICE prisons typically do not have education staff or other program staff. Additionally the medical departments are often run by the federal government. Looks like lots of CCA employees could also possibly be losing jobs as CCA makes itself even more profit at the expense of Oklahoma citizens who welcomed the company to there communities! I hope Valdosta is paying attention. CCA is no ones friend.

Originally found here.

Federal contract could displace more than 2,000 Oklahoma prisoners
Corrections Corporation of America officials alerted Oklahoma corrections authorities in July of their intent to offer the Federal Bureau of Prisons space at three prisons in the state.

1st Published: August 22, 2010

More than 2,000 state inmates could be displaced from private prisons if a federal contract to house criminal illegal immigrants is awarded here. The move could cost the state Corrections Department and Oklahoma taxpayers millions of dollars.

Corrections Corporation of America officials told state corrections authorities in July they intended to offer three Oklahoma-based prisons to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. They are: Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, Davis Correctional Facility in Holdenville and the empty Diamondback Correctional Facility in Watonga.

"There shouldn't be any surprise when something like this happens," said Justin Jones, state Corrections Department director. "Their product is the incarceration of criminals and it's a for-profit business."

If the contract is awarded, it could affect the placement of 1,800 medium security prisoners at Cimarron and Davis, and 360 maximum-security inmates at Davis, corrections officials said.

The department is operating with a more than $40 million budget deficit.

Federal officials would use the private prisons to house low-security male inmates, primarily criminal illegal immigrants who are Mexican citizens with one year or less to serve.

The business of incarceration

Federal contracts typically pay between $60 and $65 daily per prisoner, Jones said.

Oklahoma has one of the lowest reimbursement rates in the country. They range from about $42 for minimum security inmates to about $57 for maximum security.

If the prisoners are moved, that could mean an increase of as much as $15 per prisoner, Jones said.

Corrections Corporation of America spokesman Steve Owen wouldn't comment on rates discussed with the Federal Bureau of Prisons for the contract.

Offers are being accepted from companies in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas, and would require 3,000 beds, according to a bid request from the bureau.

Bids are competitive, often based on geographic needs, Owen said.

Earnings increase

Corrections Corporation of America earlier this month reported their second-quarter earnings had increased nearly two percent in 2010 to $419.4 million from $412 million in 2009. The increase was fueled by a jump in inmate populations and a boost from new contracts with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. It notes the opening of a center in Mississippi to house about 2,500 illegal immigrants convicted of crimes and awaiting deportation.

"We've openly been marketing our empty prisons," Owen said. "There is a demand and a need for prison services."

Corrections Corporation of America is the largest for-profit prison company in the U.S. It currently houses about 75,000 individuals in more than 60 prisons and detention centers in the country, according to information on the company website. It partners with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, states and municipalities.

In 2009 financial statements, competitor GEO Group officials reported, "We believe that this federal initiative to target, detain, and deport criminal aliens throughout the country will continue to drive the need for immigration detention beds over the next several years."

GEO Group recently bought Cornell Cos., operator of Great Plains Correctional Facility in Hinton. The company has offered use of the prison for federal inmates as well.

This month, officials at the prison announced they would be laying off nearly 300 employees and sending more than 1,700 inmates back to Arizona. No Oklahoma prisoners are housed there.

Even county jails are responding to the need for federal bed space.

Tulsa County officials entered into an agreement with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in 2007. Garvin County also has an agreement with the agency to house and transport federal detainees.

Displaced inmates and jobs

Jones said if the bid by Corrections Corporation of America is accepted, the most challenging task would be finding room for the nearly 360 maximum-security prisoners being held at Davis.

There are not enough open maximum-security beds in the state to keep them there, he said. This might result in prisoners being shipped out of state — the first time it's happened since the mid-1990s.

"Obviously this would be a huge burden to families of those prisoners," he said. "It would also probably cost us more."

At the same time state officials worry about prison beds, the question looms about how Oklahoma jobs will be affected.

The possibility of jobs returning to the Watonga area is a bright spot. More than 300 Corrections Corporation of America employees lost their jobs when the Diamondback prison closed there in May. More than 2,000 inmates were returned to Arizona.

It was the largest employer in the area. Owen said company officials are anxious to get the prison running again.

He said he's not sure how employment would be affected at Davis and Cimarron if the bid is accepted.

In 2007, nearly 200 Cornell employees at the Great Plains Correctional Center in Hinton lost work after the state Corrections Department and the company failed to come to an agreement about reimbursement rates. The company then negotiated a contract for Arizona inmates.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

This Land Is (D) Representative Bobby Bright's Land - This Land Is Not Your Land

First off I want to say that I wanted to like Representative Bobby Bright but I just could not. He is a likable enough person when you meet him, he just seems to have no true convictions. Or at least no stance that he has not carefully crafted a fall back position on. Mr. Bright dodges responsibility and questions like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix. He is a geriatric superhero with a superhuman "attempt to dodge" ability. He always seems to have prepared an out.

Mr. Bright said that he votes what his constituents believe and not necessarily what he himself believes. He is a Democrat but no one seems to of told him exactly what a Democrat is or how one should vote. As a Republican I have lost a lot of faith in my own party in the last few years but whether or not I agree with them on every issue I at least understand what the typical Republican is likely to feel about an issue and I agree with them on more issues than I disagree. Mr. Bright on the other hand seems to vote against his party on almost every "big issue." He is an enigma hidden within a riddle.

Friday I met Mr. Bright in Dothan at his Immigration Town Hall meeting. I knew the day was going to be "taxing" based on all the "I Heart Sarah Palin" stickers I passed in the parking lot. This was my first run in with a large group of Tea Party type people. I was actually surprised that while I do not agree with there ideology (and surely not that Sarah Palin is the best female Republican contender for a national office) the tea party folks were in general a likable enough crowd. They were not nearly as angry as I have seen them portrayed in the media. It was no surprise that not many of them agreed with any of my thoughts but they were all certainly respectful of my right to express my beliefs. Only one of them caused a scene and that was when he got up at almost the end of the presentation and stormed out saying it was 4 PM and he had to go (Maybe he was just a really big Glenn Beck fan).

Mr. Bright and several of the tea party people repeatedly spoke of the Constitution and the danger that immigration was posing to it. Are they not aware that the Constitution was itself written, ratified and amended by immigrants and the direct descendants of immigrants to the US? In fact one could argue that the Constitution itself in a twisted way encouraged immigration. The issue of slavery was too controversial to be resolved during the Philadelphia Convention. As a result, the original Constitution contained four provisions tacitly allowing slavery to continue for the next 20 years. In fact Section 9 of Article I allowed the continued "importation" of such persons, Section 2 of Article IV prohibited the provision of assistance to escaping persons and required their return if successful and Section 2 of Article I defined other persons as "three-fifths" of a person for calculations of each state's official population for representation and federal taxation. Article V prohibited any amendments or legislation changing the provision regarding slave importation until 1808, thereby giving the States then existing 20 years to resolve this issue. The fact that this was not done in fact led to the Civil War.

I also want to say that Dothan is a very odd place to be having a Town Hall meeting on Immigration. According to Wikipedia in 2007 Dothan had 65,447 people living in it. Of these 1.32% are Hispanic or Latino. Bobby Bright and many of the people in the audience spoke of Dothan as if it was being swarmed by illegals like they were'ing a trip from the US Border directly to Dothan. It was also sad to hear Dothan City Commissioner John Craig saying, "We’re being asked on the commission what we're doing about the people that are already here. What are we doing to get rid of them and once they're taking jobs and running our hospital bills up.” I think in Dothan many more poor people are probably stiffing the hospitals with unpaid bills than illegals.

Mr. Bright showed the very small crowd (60-80 people tops) a slide presentation that amounted to him smiling on the border, standing with various ICE & Border Patrol officials and a photo of him touring a contract detention facility in El Paso, Texas. It was like sitting through your neighbors very bad vacation slide show with way to much smiling going on. If it was a theme park then I don't think Bobby Bright made it farther than "Fantasyland." This was a Utopian vision of the US border where everything was pretty much working except for the horde of illegals lining up to run across the border to "destroy are way of life." Mr. Bright also thought that an already overworked US military should some how be used to secure the borders. I guess Mr. Bright is not really aware of the intense events going on in Iraq and Afghanistan that are consuming so much of the armed forces time (Wait a minute I think I saw a bunch of pictures of him in Baghdad on his website!).

Mr. Bright stated that he "totally agreed" with the recent law the State of Arizona had passed on immigration. But most disturbing of all was how he continually throughout his thirty minute or so speech on Immigration referred to illegals as "them" and "those people." Talk like this reminded me of Alabama's own Civil Rights history. Perhaps a politician from Montgomery, Alabama could be more careful or sensitive with the words he uses. To me the words possibly hinted at his own mindset and what he might really be thinking.

I originally came to this meeting without planning to speak. However after hearing all that was said and the continual "them" and "those people" I knew that I needed to say something. I briefly spoke to the crowd about my grandmother immigrating to this country from England by way of Bermuda and how this country was founded and built on the backs of immigrant labor. On how fear was being used and how that was not the reality of the situation. I discussed what I thought about a politician using expressions like "Them" and "those people." I spoke of my own employment in a Immigration Detention Center. I spoke about how illegal immigrant labor was used at places like Fort Benning and also even used to build parts of the Stewart Detention Center that houses illegals awaiting detention/deportation hearings. I spoke on how ICE declared an audit a "practice audit" after the Stewart Detention Center failed it very, very badly. I also spoke on the high number of sexual assaults in Immigration Detention Centers. Finally thinking about Roberto Martinez Medina who died at the Stewart Detention Center I spoke of the more than 100 deaths in Detention Centers in the last few years.

Bobby Bright responded by stating "If a person comes in to our country and does what we ask them to do, and they are legal, I don't think there is a person in this room that would not do what they could to help that person get a job," Bright said. "The problem we have here is this: We are entitled to run this nation in the way we have set it up to run. Immigrants should give us the decency to do what we say must be done to be a legal citizen in this nation."

Mr. Bright still does not get it. We can not build a border wall high enough to keep everyone out as long as we silently encourage illegal immigrants to work here. It is a very mixed message we are sending. Employers are rarely held responsible for hiring illegal immigrants. Many American businesses could not succeed without the cheap foreign supplied labor. Americans are more than happy to buy low priced goods that are only possible through the exploitation of illegal immigrants living in the United States. Families that are torn apart by ICE and immigration policies will most likely come back together, even if it means crossing an invisible border or one of the border walls that Bobby Bright made a political photo opportunity out of. The reasonable thing would probably be to come up with a fair path to citizenship based on an immigrants contributions to are country but I think many of the illegals here don't even want that. Many of them would just settle for a chance to live and work here without the fear they now must live under.

I will put it in terms that even Mr. Bright can understand, only by granting more legal options and/or work visa's for "those people" to work here can the immigration issue be fixed.