By Alyse Shields
JCUA Intern, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago
Echoes of “CCA go away” and “Education not Incarceration” were heard throughout the night as the organizers of the event spoke in depth about the impact of a private prison on property values, the identity of Crete, and the questionable history of CCA’s treatment of its detainees and employees.
It was Tuesday, February 28, and residents of Crete (a village south of Chicago) were meeting once again to discuss the impact of the proposed immigrant detention center on the small community in the south suburbs of Chicago, where Correction Corporation of America, Immigration Customs and Enforcement, and Crete officials still plan on constructing the center.
The crowd that gathered filled the gym at Crete Elementary, a space large enough to fit 300 people. Those who attended listened intently and towards the end of the night many shared their own disbelief at the nature of such a project being brought to Crete, while others asked questions that only Crete officials have the inside knowledge to answer.
The Chicago Tribune has reported that plans for the center are moving ahead.
Clearly Crete officials and their large business partners are not as concerned with the voices of the residents of Crete. However, it is also clear that this crowd of determined citizens is not going anywhere, and that this meeting is not the last attempt to have their voices heard by those who are their elected leaders and representatives.