The T. Don Hutto Residential Center (TDHRC) represents a unique and pioneering setting, offering the least restrictive environment permissible to manage persons in administrative U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.
In keeping with the director's call for civil detention reform, TDHRC represents a clear departure from historical detention settings. Residents experience expanded services that include free and open movement, recreational and educational participation, food services and medical and mental health care.
TDHRC's person-centered philosophy guides every interaction with the residents by understanding the often complex circumstances surrounding their detention. TDHRC continues to fulfill the mission of ICE while at the same time recognizing and valuing the dignity of the individual.
Opened in Taylor, Texas (35 miles east of Austin), in May 2006, TDHRC has a capacity of up to 512 beds. The average length of stay is 31 days.
TDHRC is currently authorized for 169 Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) employees, 43 ICE Health Service Corps members, and 30 ICE employees. The center operates under an ICE Intergovernmental Service Agreement with Williamson County, Texas. Williamson County contracts with CCA for the facility's day-to-day operations, and a new agreement with Williamson County became effective Feb.1, 2010.
A Residential Approach
Though there is a chain link fence around the center, there is no razor wire. Residents enjoy full contact visitation, seven days per week. Residents are housed in 11 dorms with adjoining rooms that open to a communal day room and have freedom of movement from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Secure doors are never used within residential areas and the courtroom areas have six video teleconference courtrooms with a legal visitation room.
The center offers adult educational programs including English classes, arts and crafts, and a volunteer work program.
Residents' health care needs are seen to by personnel from the ICE Health Service Corps. Medical staff is on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week and includes doctors, nurses, dentists, and mental health providers. Residents receive compassionate care from providers and complete health care services.
ICE Health Service Corps mental health staff includes a psychiatrist, a psychologist and several social workers. Mental health staff members are on-site seven days a week.
Clothing for Residents
Residents at the center have the option of retaining their personal clothing. If the resident prefers, the center can provide jeans, polo shirts, t-shirts, jackets, gym shorts, underwear, tennis shoes and sweat suits.
The cafeteria offers a full-service salad and hot food bar and features a soda and juice machine. Residents are surveyed quarterly about the food service to ensure that meals meet their needs and preferences. Resident workers help serve meals, fostering a more home-like atmosphere.
The library features a legal section where residents can look up case law that may assist with their immigration cases. The library holds approximately 6,000 books, including books in Spanish and other languages, and a selection of popular magazines and newspapers. The center also accepts donated books.
Recreation and Activities
Residents are provided with daily recreational opportunities. Activities and resources include dance and aerobic classes, two soccer fields, a volleyball court, and workout equipment including cardio exercise machines. Residents may participate in basketball, volleyball, kickball, soccer, and flag football. In addition, the center's Resident Advisory Committee organizes monthly birthday parties and holiday celebrations as well as movie nights.
The center features a computer room equipped with 20 computers, all with Internet access to include free e-mail services. Residents may use the computers to access online GED, ESL and parenting programs in both English and Spanish. Dorms have cable TV, radio and library books. A local cosmetologist is on-site twice a week to accommodate residents and the legal and family visitation room includes rooms and cubicles for private attorney-client meetings.