Lo and Behold! Talk Left blog:
What holds 400 illegal immigrants from 30 countries, 170 of them children? The T. Don Hutto Family Detention Center, for which the Corrections Corporation of America receives $2.8 million per month.
A jail by any other name is still a jail. A detention camp is still a detention camp. That the prisoners wear scrubs instead of orange jumpsuits or pink underwear doesn't change a thing.
The Government invited the media today. Surprise, for the first time there was pizza on the menu. How humane. They brought in plastic potted plants to warm up the place. The Government says its more like a community college than a jail.
What a farce. Can the "students" leave? Of course not. It's a jail.
Outside the blocky buildings with thin slit windows, protesters from a local group called Texans United for Families held up signs saying, “Don’t Jail Children for Profit.”
“If they can put an ankle bracelet on Martha Stewart so she doesn’t run off to Jamaica,” said a protester, Jose Ortan, a computer technician, “they can find ways to do it for immigrant families.”
Devil's Tower at Daily Kos provides his thoughts and notes that the reporters weren't allowed to interview the detainees during the tour.
Last December, Pach highlighted the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids on various Swift meat processing plants, sweeping up all manner of workers. Some were legal, others were not, but "working while brown" seemed to be the common denominator. One of the most problematic issues, to me, was the handling of children and families. Little thought seemed to have been given to how to deal with the children in school whose parents were swept up. Churches and other groups stepped up, but the lack of concern on the part of ICE for the children affected by this was appalling.
This past Thursday, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) and the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, two well-known and non-partisan NGOs, released a report entitled Locking Up Family Values (large pdf - 2 MB). It details the conditions at two model "family detention facilites" run by ICE, and the story is appalling.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children felt it vital to examine the implications of this expanding penal approach to family detention in order to inform the development of policy and practice that serves the best interests of children and families. To that end we visited both the T. Don Hutto Residential Center and the Berks Family Shelter Care Facility and talked with detained families as well as former detainees. What we found was disturbing:
• Hutto is a former criminal facility that still looks and feels like a prison, complete with razor wire and prison cells.
• Some families with young children have been detained in these facilities for up to two years.
• The majority of children detained in these facilities appeared to be under the age of 12.
• At night, children as young as six were separated from their parents.
• Separation and threats of separation were used as disciplinary tools.
• People in detention displayed widespread and obvious psychological trauma. Every woman we spoke with in a private setting cried.
• At Hutto pregnant women received inadequate prenatal care.
• Children detained at Hutto received one hour of schooling per day.
• Families in Hutto received no more than twenty minutes to go through the cafeteria line and feed their children and themselves. Children were frequently sick from the food and losing weight.
• Families in Hutto received extremely limited indoor and outdoor recreation time and children did not have any soft toys.
And that's just from the summary.