The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Will Matthews, (212) 549-2582 or 2666; 

Sexual Abuse Of Female Detainees At Hutto Highlights Ongoing Failure Of Immigration Detention System, Says ACLU


Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) employee at the T. Don Hutto
immigration detention facility in Taylor, TX today was charged with
sexually abusing numerous female immigration detainees. Donald Charles
Dunn, a resident supervisor at the Hutto facility, is accused of abusing
the detainees as he was transporting them to the airport after they had
been released on bond and has allegedly admitted to telling the women
that he was going to "frisk" them before touching their breasts and
genital areas for his gratification, according to Sheriff's officials in
Williamson County, TX. Dunn is charged with official oppression and
unlawful restraint.

The American Civil Liberties Union is
actively investigating the sexual abuse of female detainees at Hutto,
where the detention of families was halted last year after the
successful settlement of an ACLU lawsuit charging that children were
being imprisoned in inhumane conditions while their parents awaited
immigration decisions.

As part of its investigation, the
ACLU has obtained via the Texas Public Information Act copies of both
the Intergovernmental Services Agreement (IGSA) between Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE), CCA and Williamson County, under which the
Hutto facility is operated, and ICE's own transport policy. Both
documents are being made available to the public and can be found online
The opportunity for abuse was the result of a failure by CCA officials
to abide by the IGSA that female immigration detainees not be isolated
with male staff members.

The following can be attributed to Vanita Gupta, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU:

"The sexual abuse of numerous
immigration detainees at Hutto underscores the systemic failures that
continue to plague our nation's broken immigration detention system. The
irony is that ICE touts Hutto as a flagship facility, emblematic of its
commitment to reform. Clearly, that commitment is shallow. ICE has
ignored repeated calls for increased and independent oversight and
accountability of its immigration detention facilities and the private
contractors like CCA who run them, and tragedies like this are the
unfortunate result. It is time for ICE officials to live up to their
promise of creating a 'truly civil' immigration detention system that
does not tolerate the abuse and degradation of its detainees."

The following can be attributed to Lisa Graybill, Legal Director of the ACLU of Texas:

"It is long past time to close the
book on ICE's relationship with CCA. If this administration is serious
about reform, it cannot continue to spend millions of taxpayer dollars
every month on a private contractor that has proven over and again it is
demonstrably incapable of running a safe and humane facility. Immigrant
women, many of whom who have fled to the United States seeking refuge
from sexual violence, should not fear more of the same in the hands of
ICE and its contractors. Zero tolerance starts at the top. The only way
for ICE to restore integrity to its system is to immediately sever its
contract with CCA and begin a new era of transparency and

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666