Thursday, September 6, 2007

We Don't Like It Here...

The best thing about this post making the myspace rounds are the kids' drawings, which are probably real..

via Free The Children of Texas' Hutto Prison: A former prison is now being used as an ICE detention prison for hundreds of children (many of them U.S. citizens) whose parents’ legal status is in question. The corporation running operation makes $7,000 a month, courtesy of Homeland Security and Williamson County gets a buck a day per kid for acting as the "provider."

drawings from the ICE detention center in Taylor, Texas

Mary Ellen Kersch spoke at a Williamson County meeting in opposition: "Beyond the morality issues of County involvement in the Taylor prison, there are some other concerns that I would like to ask this Court to consider. I asked two attorneys -- one with expertise in contract law and the other in state and municipal law -- to review the agreements the County has with both ICE and CCA, and they raised some serious red-flags.
"First, there could be legal issues with County involvement in the detention of the category of individuals being held at the Taylor prison, since the County has no specific grant of authority from the state allowing it to hold this type of prisoner.
"Secondly the County's contract with Homeland Security establishes the County as the party responsible for the terms of the contract. CCA is simple the subcontractor. The County should not be surprised to be named and runs a risk of being held liable, in any lawsuit brought against the operation of the Taylor prison. Such lawsuits could be brought on behalf of the detainees, for a myriad of reasons, as well as by ICE, itself.
"There is a major concern regarding the fact that the County agreement with ICE specifies how funds are to be spent. If CCA, who is receiving and spending (and accounting for) those funds, doesn't perform to ICE's satisfaction, the County could end up being responsible for the refund: that has happened elsewhere.
"One thing that seems curious is that ICE could have contracted directly with CCA to do exactly what they're doing. They didn't need the contract with Williamson County, but our involvement certainly gives them added assurance of recovery.
"Certainly, CCA looks pretty safe, from a financial viewpoint, at this moment. And given that they are collecting approximately $7,000 per prisoner a month, no wonder! However, we could feel a lot better if a bond were in place. I can't help but remember Enron, and they ended up leaving a lot of people in a state of devastation. It also doesn't comfort me that CCA's CFO was formerly associated with the Arthur Anderson firm (the financial advisors to Enron).
"For $12-$15 thousand monthly, we are taking on a lot of risk. Not only is the County's involvement in the Taylor prison bad on moral grounds, and a blight on our community's reputation, it is a high-risk/low-gain business deal. Please exercise the 120-day notification clause and get us out of this unequal, and very unwise, partnership."