Around 20 youngsters from Houston joined Students for a Democratic Society of UH for a protest of the Houston Processing Center as part of the Campaign to End Family Detention. Other participating groups included Houston Anti-Racist Action, International Socialist Organization and whatever the RCP’s youth crew is going by these days.
The Houston Processing Center is the worlds first private prison, it was opened by the Corrections Corporation of America in 1984 in a motel after acquiring a contract from the INS to open up a detention center for people awaiting court hearings on immigration charges. The HPC now has 950 beds. In a quarter of a century the private prison industry has exploded with more than 250 private prisons in the USA. CCA has grown to a capacity a capacity of more than 80,000 beds in 65 correctional facilities.
Our protest started on Greens road where we were visible to traffic, we then marched while chanting and chatting to the visitors entrance on the south side of the facility. Many folks were there waiting on family members who were meeting with people detained inside. We rallied an chanted again and spoke with some of the folks there who shared some of their stories about the plight and stuggles of their loved ones in detention.
One SDS member spoke in detail of her experience with her family member in detention and shared stories about what daily life is like as well as her experiences dealing with non-existent educational facilities, medical neglect and the specific experiences of specific detainees at the HPC.
While the turnout was small and the press coverage was limited to the Daily Cougar (and Indymedia!) everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and we are gearing up for more creative actions to try and raise attention and hopefully win some victories in the struggle to abolish prisons for profit and immigrant detention.