June 9, 2007

People for Peace, Justice and Healing met at 10:00 a.m. on June 9, 2007 at Associated Ministries. Present for check-in were Sallie S., Sally M., Mark, Sheila, Kyle, Vivi, and Sol.

Discussion evoked a number of items of interest:

1. NORTHWEST DETENTION CENTER. It was reported that the number of prisoners incarcerated in the Northwest Detention Center, built a few years ago on the Tacoma Tideflats, is at or near capacity of 1000.

NOTE: The size of this facility has mushroomed in recent years with little or no public discussion. It will be recalled that in 2002, the News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) told its readers this would be "a 500-bed detention facility." In 2003 and 2004, AP and the Seattle Times said the facility would have 700 beds. Later, the public was told that the facility would be able to "expand" to hold 800, then 890 prisoners. In December 2007 we were told that “no construction” would be needed for a 200-bed expansion. Now we hear that a capacity twice that originally contemplated has been reached, and that tents are being considered to house still more prisoners.

The News Tribune has told us much about Paris Hilton's detention of late, but has nothing to say about the detention of one thousand people on what was a toxic waste Superfund site. Other media are equally silent about the for-profit prison, now owned by the Geo Group, Inc.

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA 9th) has in the past expressed a sense of responsibility for what goes on at the Northwest Detention Center. His office at 3600 Port of Tacoma Road, Suite 106, is little more than two miles from the Northwest Detention Center. His office can be reached at 253-896-3775; for email, see .

What's going on? For an idea of what's going on, see a story in the Olympian of Jun. 2, 2007, in which it was reported that sixteen individuals were rounded up and incarcerated in the Northwest Detention Centers days after they complained of mistreatment by management at their residence during a public meeting before the Washington Human Rights Commission in downtown Shelton. "Marc Brenman, executive director of the Washington Human Rights Commission, said he wants to assure people that 'we did not drop the dime on anybody,' but added, 'we don’t know if there was anyone in the audience from ICE.'" Meanwhile, Lorie Dankers, spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or "ICE," in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, said that anyone can call ICE with a complaint about an undocumented immigrant. She said that in 2006, 4,674 undocumented immigrants were removed from those states, in 2005, 4,027 were removed, and in 2004, 4,109 were "removed."

2. PUGET SOUND INTERFAITH YOUTH CAMP. Sallie S. gave an update on the Puget Sound Interfaith Youth Camp.

3. AUGUSTIN AGUAYO. Sallie S. reported that war resister Augustin Aguayo will be coming to the region in July; PPJH is willing to organize an appearance. Sallie will look into venues.

4. BATTLEMIND TRANSITION TRAINING. Sol reported on a military program to help Iraq veterans. Called "Battlemind II Training: Continuing the Transition Home." Developed by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Department of Military Psychiatry, it involves a half-hour video and individual counseling and is aimed at soldiers who have been back home for three to six months. For more information, see here.

5. DIGNITY VILLAGE. Dignity Village, a mobile tent city in Portland, Oregon, seven miles from downtown, is home for people who might otherwise inhabit doorways and sidewalks. For more information, see this Wikipedia article or here.

6. SEED BALLS. Recipe here.

7. PORT MILITARIZATION RESISTANCE. Mark gave an update on developments in the cases stemming from the port militarization resistance protests at the Port of Tacoma in March 2007. The next pretrial hearing is scheduled in Tacoma Municipal Court at 1:30 p.m. on July 18.


1. STEVE & KRISTI NEBEL IN PERFORMANCE. Singer-songwriters Steve and Kristi Nebel will perform at 7:00 p.m. on Mon., Jun. 11, at Rhapsody in Bloom, 3709 6th Ave, Tacoma (253-761-7673).

Respectfully submitted,