It was a 4 – 1 vote with Precinct 1 Commissioner Lisa Birkman being the only dissenting vote, thank commissioner Birkman. via the AAS, Willco renews contract with detention center.
Williamson County commissioners today extended a contract with a private company to run a much-criticized immigrant detention facility north of Taylor.
Commissioners voted 4-1 to renew the contract for the T. Don Hutto Retention facility, a 512-bed facility that holds families who are awaiting hearings.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Lisa Birkman voted against it, saying that although she agrees with the need to enforce immigration laws and the need for the jobs created by the facility, it is still a prison. The facility is a former medium-security prison.
Birkman’s announcement garnered applause from residents who attended the meeting in opposition to the facility, 23 of whom spoke before the court. Corrections Corp. of America will continue to operate the facility for another two years. The company has had a contract to operate the facility since 2006. Williamson County and Corrections Corp. can terminate the contract within 120 days.
MaryEllen Kersch, a former mayor of Georgetown, said she thought the vote was “reprehensible.”
“they didn’t respond to the basic business issues or that the county is being maligned around the world for participating in the holding of children.”
She said opposition to the facility is “not going to go away and is only going to grow.”
At least it’s not a unanimous vote anymore. Maybe that close race this year had some effect on Birkman, maybe not. But there are two races commissioner’s race coming in 2010 and the incumbents in Precinct 2 and 4 will have to answer for this vote.