by Kathleen Erickson, RSM

It seems normal in so many ways, sitting on a park bench. It’s a nice day and children and a few women play on a freshly-turfed soccer area. The woman seated beside me is from Honduras. She tells me about going to her mom’s house after college classes one day. Her mom had been contacted by gang members for extortion money and had refused to pay. This daughter got to her mom’s house as the bodies of her brother, mother, and wounded sister were being carried out of the house on stretchers. She’s not interested in soccer.

Dilley, Texas is the site of the South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC) containing living quarters for more than 2,000 women and children, medical facilities including dental and mental health care, a library, school, soccer field, gymnasiums, colorful playground equipment, and two meeting rooms  where religious services and “town halls” are held. Prison language is not used in relation to STFRC. Twelve residents live in apartments rather than cell blocks, and are supervised by case managers, unit supervisors, and personnel who “check that everyone’s ok” every 15-30 minutes around the clock.

This facility is the façade of compassionate care for women and children who have been forced to leave their home and country because of violence, death threats, extortion, and other horrors.... READ MORE BY DOWNLOADING THE PDF BELOW

Publication Type: