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No Model Prison, No Matter How You Spin It

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April 24, 2008

Earlier this week, officials from the Hutto detention center, the same one we brought several lawsuits against last March, gave a media tour of the facility. Several media outlets covered the tour, and gave glowing reviews of how much has improved after the Immigration and Custom Enforcement

agency agreed to the terms of the settlement of our lawsuit. Officials even went as far as to say that Hutto could be a model for more immigrant detention centers in the future.

Ghouri Bhat, one of the attorneys involved in the Hutto case, responded to this in DailyKos today:

Other reported statements by Mead are still more disturbing – specifically, his assertion that Hutto will be a model for future family detention centers to be opened by the government. Clearly, ICE’s enthusiasm for detaining families is undiminished, despite Hutto’s $33.6 million annual price tag and numerous admonitions from Congress to explore less expensive alternatives to detention before locking up immigrant children. If more family detention centers are on the horizon, the ACLU’s Hutto settlement should serve as a useful model in many respects and a cautionary tale.

You can learn more about the Hutto lawsuit at And The New Yorker did a great profile of the problem of immigrant detention-and specifically Hutto-last month.