Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lock up the women and children first!

How proud we should all be to be Americans! In the immortal words of W: "In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty." And what better way to do so than to lock up entire immigrant families in DHS prisons! The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children has issued this report:

"Refugee advocates foundprison-like conditions at the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) facilities that house immigrant families, including asylum seekers, who are in immigration proceedings. . . The Women's Commission and LIRS visited the T. Don Hutto ResidentialCenter in Texas and the Berks Family Shelter Care Facility in Pennsylvaniaand talked with detained families as well as former detainees and ICE officials. The delegation found families, many with young children, detained in harsh conditions, for days, months and sometimes years. These families are held in penal settings where residents are deprived of the right to live as a family unit, denied adequate medical and mental healthcare, and face overly harsh disciplinary tactics."

In order to keep the little ones in order -- who along with their parents are made to wear the same blue prison jumpsuits -- guards threaten to separate them from their parents. The government is paying the Corrections Corporation of America $2.8 to lock up entire families who aren't guilty of anything. Amazing! The Austin Chronical reported earlier this month that

"There's no way of verifying exactly how many families are being held there, as Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison company that ICE pays more than $2.8 million a month to run the facility, is restricted by ICE from commenting on the population. According to ICE Enforcement Officer Nina Pruneda, a population breakdown cannot be released to the public due to - you guessed it - 'reasons of homeland security.'"

A quick google search reveals that the warden of the T. Don Hutto ResidentialCenter is one Mickey Liles who began his "corrections career . . . in 1973 as a correctional officer for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice" according to the center's web site. Another thing about good ol' Mickey is that he was named as a defendant in a lawsuit while he was warden of Diamondback Correctional Facility in Oklahoma.

According to the complaint an immate of CAA, Solomon Broadus, aka Sulayman Ansar Rahim, "alleged that the prison officials had violated Mr. Broadus’s constitutional rights by causing him to be exposed to environmental tobacco smoke and by subjecting him to a strip search in front of a female officer. " [It's kind ironic that Liles is being accused of exposing someone to cigarette smoke because he ran Texas' first smoke-free prison]

Doesn't sound like the kind of person who should be looking after children, but this is the post 9/111 world of George W. Bush.
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