Monday, December 3, 2007

T Don Hutto timeline

Pre-1950s- The land Hutto is on was originally owned cooperatively by Mexican workers. Denied a place in town to park their trucks during cotton season, the workers pooled their wages to purchase the land. The land became a place to congregate and have fiestas. It eventually became known as Hidalgo Park, named after Father Hidalgo.

1980s- Unable to pay the property taxes, the workers donated the land to the Parish with the understanding it would be Parish property. However, the Church later sold the land for revenue.

-July 1997-CCA leases 64.5 acres of land on Welch St. in Taylor, TX This land will become the site of the T. Don Hutto Correctional Facility, named after the company’s co-founder.

-March 2004-CCA releases a statement saying it will close Hutto, citing low inmate demand in the region. This will become only the first of several times T Don Hutto will be ‘mothballed’ as CCA seeks prisoners to house.

-Summer 2005- CCA announces its intentions to cease operations at Hutto, citing ‘lack of demand’ in its contract with US Marshals Service. Gives September ’05 as date of closure.

-September 2005- Hutto reopens to house inmates evacuated from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita fallout.

-December 2005- CCA lands a contract with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and announces it will reopen Hutto as an immigrant detention facility. They “expect the facility to be substantially occupied before the end of the second quarter of ’06.” (courtesy CCA website)

-April 2006-CCA and ICE enter new agreement, changing the class of detainees held at Hutto from adult men to families. Hutto thus becomes only the second facility in the country to house immigrant families, and the first in US history to be based on the penal system.
Williamson County will work as an intermediary in billing transactions between ICE and CCA, and will earn $1/day per inmate, or about $200,000/year.

-December 16, 2006- First vigil outside Hutto, protesting the detention of families.

-February, 2007. Release of Locking Up Family Values, the most complete account of family detention in the US. It contains the only published photos from inside Hutto (outside of what ICE has furnished).

- February 23, 2007- 9 year old Iranian-born, Canadian immigrant released from Hutto after being held without charge for over a month. His family’s plane, on its way to Canada from Central America, was forced to land in Puerto Rico. Because they lacked an American visa, the whole family is detained.

Click here to read the Democracy Now! transcript.


-March, 2007. The American Civil Liberties Union files lawsuits on behalf of ten immigrant children, ages 3 to 16, challenging their illegal detention at the T. Don Hutto facility.


- April 30, 2007. U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants is denied access into Hutto to assess conditions inside. "Pending litigation" about conditions was the only reason offered for the lack of access.

-May 24, 2007- CCA employee at Hutto fired after allegations of rape of woman held there. CCA claims the sexual contact was consensual, though hospital examinations are never publicly released.

- June 23, 2007- In honor of World Refugee Day, Amnesty International, an international human rights organization, hosts the 10th vigil outside Hutto. The largest yet, over 400 protesters- including Elizabeth Kucinich, wife of the presidential nominee- arrive, calling for the closure of Hutto.

-On August 27, 2007- The ACLU announces its settlement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), greatly improving conditions for immigrant children and their families in Hutto.

-October 30, 2007. Williamson County commissioners unanimously vote to continue the highly-criticized partnership for the operations of T. Don Hutto Residential Center after amending a contract that promises to protect the county from liability.