11.01.07

CCA’s Bottom Line Is All That Matters At T. Don Hutto

Posted in Bad Government Republicans, Commissioners Court, Privatization, T. Don Hutto, Williamson County at 12:03 pm by wcnews

Corporations may have all the rights of a person but they have no heart. That’s something to keep in mind whenever T. Don Hutto (TDH) is mentioned. The only thing that matters to a corporation is it’s bottom line. That’s not meant as a slam on corporations, it’s just reality. For that reason we have government regulation, to make sure that they don’t run wild. If it wasn’t for the people who’ve been protesting TDH for a almost a year now CCA would still be running wild at TDH, there would still be razor wire up, children would still be getting only one hour of education per day, mothers and children would still be eating rotten food and spoiled milk, etc..

Now we find out from the AusChron that CCA, the corporation that runs TDH, was employing some of the same people they’re purported to be locking up. WilCo’s Latest Snafu.

The dirty little secret is out: The T. Don Hutto Family Residential Center, a detention facility for immigrant families in Taylor, has employed undocumented workers, as well as contractors with criminal records. The revelation has put Williamson Coun­ty, which administers the center for owner-operator Correc­tions Corporation of America, in an embarrassing legal bind. The infractions, ironic as they are, were cited in an official reprimand of CCA by the U.S. Immigration and Cus­toms Enforcement and addressed to County Judge Dan Gattis on May 23. The reprimand only came to light in October, when WilCo commissioners began airing concerns about mounting liability. But it was an alleged sexual assault of a detainee by a guard on May 19 that was the most likely source of the county’s jitters over liability. WilCo and CCA were to “ensure that such an incident not occur again,” the reprimand stated.

A corporation will skirt the laws in order to increase profits and dare someone to come after them. And with a pro-corporate GOP unaccountable government in our state and county it’s doubtful that anyone will go after CCA. Because it’s OK if a corporation employs undocumented workers, especially one that locks-up immigrants who’ve committed no crime that are here seeking asylum in the United States.

One reason for amending the contract was for the county to, at least, make it look like they care what’s going on at TDH. The strategy by the county to keep tabs on TDH is to put a “team”, handpicked by the sheriff, in TDH to monitor what’s going on at the prison. There are those that believe that the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) may be going into TDH not to monitor what’s going on inside the facility but to, let’s say, filter what comes out. From the KXAN link above we learn that even though an illegal act was committed by a guard against an inmate at TDH, there guard has never been punished.

Recently, a CCA employee commented on the assault.

“It was not an assault. It was something that was consensual,” said Evelyn Hernandez of the CCA. “Although that happened when I was first at the facility, and that’s something that’s not going to be tolerated.”

The guard was fired, and federal authorities closed the investigation, saying there was no criminal activity.

However, lawyers with the Texas Civil Rights Project said the incident was swept under the rug, and there is no such thing as consensual sex between an employee and a detainee inside the center’s walls.

“It’s obviously a real problem when [there is] a balance of power that exists, so, you can’t have consensual sex,” said Jim Harrington of the Texas Civil Rights Project. “Texas law clearly states that you can’t.”

Next time, with a WCSO “team member” either on site or on speed dial, no one at the prison will have to worry about involving tracked calls to a police dispatcher if something bad happens there.

The approved $5,000 from the county will go to the sheriff’s department. That will pay for overtime hours for not one, but several employees.

The sheriff handpicked a team within the department that will monitor the facility, including making periodic unannounced visits.

“It’s not going to be just one person. [It will be] several people. He didn’t see [it] as one person’s responsibility to just have one person looking into it,” Foster said. “It’s a team concept.”

Let’s see if this makes sense. The county approves of allowing a corporation to lock up women and children in the county. Bad things occur and instead of admitting error and ending this disaster, the county, with advice from the corporations lawyer(s), decides to continue the contract with guarantees of up to $250,000 if the county is sued. The county also agrees to take it’s tax payer trained officers away from the county’s business, and make them overseers of the corporate prison, to make sure nothing bad happens that would cause a lawsuit that would cost the corporation all or part of that $250,000. Ah, the free market at work, it’s a beautiful thing.

Of course the best thing for the WCCC, CCA, and ICE would be if everyone just forgot TDH even exists and keeping the bad press from continuing is probably a big part of that strategy. Which could be what the WCSO’s job at the facility really is.

3 Comments »

  1. tweety said,

    November 1, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    If I’m not mistaken, there are a total of 5 hand picked by Wilson from WCSO. 1 Captain, 2 LTs, 3 Sgts from the investigation dept. at WCSO.

    Why ranking deputies and detectives to babysit guards?

    $5000 a month for overtime pay to Administration paid deputies?

    Now, the Sgts will benefit from being hourly paid deputies, but don’t you think overtime would be better spent solving crimes that are back logged in their short handed departments?

    The WCSO can’t hire enough people to work the streets or in their depts because no one wants to work for them. I would think, with the few who remain, it would be better to serve the citizens of Williamson County, then to stand at the paper shredder all day.

    WCCC got real lucky with securing WCSO to do the “filtering” task. After all, they are experts at it.

  2. remerson said,

    November 1, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Open government in Williamson County! The taxpayers are on the block for liability stemming from this incredible, outrageous abuse of power and idiotic “management,” and the commissioners keep it a secret from the citizens and press, talk sweet with the folks responsible for it-and sign up with them anew, only requiring that their pot be sweetened.

    Either the commissioners and judge are just plain dumb, or they are pretty much in the column of “immoral.” Either way, time for them to ‘get on down the road.’

  3. The Texas Blue said,

    November 6, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    TPA Roundup, Week of 10/29/07

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