Private prison contractor Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is facing new allegations as one of its employees was charged with sexually abusing numerous female immigration detainees at the T. Don Hutto immigration detention facility in Taylor, TX. Donald Charles Dunn, a resident supervisor at the facility, is accused of abusing detainees as he transported them to the airport after they had been released on bond.
According to the allegations, Dunn told the women that he was going to “frisk” them while in transport. Dunn would then touch their breasts and genitals for his own sexual gratification. Sheriff’s officials in Williamson County, TX have charged Dunn with official oppression and unlawful restraint.
The prison-conractor relationship is governed by an Intergovernmental Services Agreement (ISGA) between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), CCA and Williamson County. According to the agreement female immigration detainees are specifically prohibited from being in isolated situations with male staff members. CCA clearly disregarded this requirement.
This is not the first time the facility has been in trouble. Just last year the facility suspended the detention of families after allegations surfaced that the facility was imprisoning children in inhumane conditions while their parents awaited immigration decisions.
Nor are CCA’s troubles confined to Texas. The group has close ties to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer where they operate no less than six prisons, three of which house detainees for ICE. It was a CCA facility that allowed the escape of two felons who, until just recently, led authorities on a multi-state manhunt
Recent reports suggests that the contractor makes as much as $11 million a month simply for housing ICE detainees. It’s also become known that many of the Governor’s closest advisors have lobbying ties to CCA and that the group has donated directly to her campaign. Given that under SB 1070 the number of detainees is sure to increase, it is no wonder the Governor has pushed so hard for the legislation. It’s good for her campaign coffers and good for her friends.
photo courtesy of Daniel Zanina H. via Flickr