Texas County Votes to Close Notorious Private Prison for Immigrant Women


A majority white county in Texas that voted for Donald Trump in the last presidential election has voted to terminate a contract to incarcerate immigrants in a local facility.

Williamson County commissioners voted 4–1 to end the county’s intergovernmental contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to operate the T. Don Hutto Facility, according to KXAN.

“Being the go-between for a federal agency and private business on a federal issue such as this is not a core county function,” Commissioner Terry Cook, who voted in favor of ending the contract, said, according to the Austin Chronicle.

The facility, a former state prison, began imprisoning immigrants in ICE custody in 2006. It operated as a family detention facility until the Obama administration closed it in 2009. Shortly after, it was reopened as a women’s facility. There have been reports of widespread abuses taking place at the facility.

Hutto currently has “roughly 500 largely asylum-seeking women detained there,” according to the Chronicle.

The paper wrote that at least 35 women currently detained at the facility are mothers who have been separated from their children.

The county’s contract will end on Jan. 31, 2019, according to KXAN.

The county is also terminating its agreement with CoreCivic, the for-profit prison company that operated the facility.

The facility is named after T. Don Hutto, one of the founders of Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison company that went on to rebrand itself as CoreCivic.

The vote won’t immediately close the facility, and ICE has until January to renegotiate the contract. But Commissioner Cook called on supporters of the decision to continue protesting, asking them to “refrain from celebrating and instead ‘redouble’ their efforts to change immigration policy at the federal level,” according to the Chronicle.

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