Huy Supports Washington Legislation To Ban Private Prisons

Jan 24th, 2020

Huy has joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, Latino Civic Alliance, Washington State Labor Council, and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in support for two Washington State bills that seek to ban private prisons in Washington State.

Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle) and Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self (D-Mukilteo) have sponsored SB 6442 and HB 2576, respectively, seeking to prevent private companies that contract with local, state and federal agencies from operating in Washington State, like the Northwest Detention Center.

Although Indigenous Americans are not currently subject to incarceration by private prisons in Washington, Huy is concerned that private prisons could emerge in Washington as a result of local jail and state prison overcrowding.

Washington counties are already sending Indigenous inmates hours away from their communities and families to SCORE (South Correctional Entity), a jail owned and operated by seven cities in Des Moines.

“In our national experience, private prisons are even more disrespectful of our incarcerated relatives’ right to worship in traditional Indigenous ways, than local jails or state prisons,” said Huy Chairman and Indigenous human rights lawyer Gabe Galanda. “We have no interest in allowing inhumane, for-profit jails or prisons into our state.”

In 2014, Huy and the Native American Rights Fund appeared as “friend of the court” before a Hawaii federal district court in Davis v. Abercrombie, after Native Hawaiian prisoners who were sent by the state of Hawaii to a Corrections Corporation of America facility in Arizona, were deprived of access to a Pohaku O Kane, a sacred space for prayer, refuge, and atonement that utilizes a stone altar. That case later settled.

A Senate Committee hearing on  SB 6442 will be held on January 29, 2019, at 8:00 AM.