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Human Rights Groups Call For Closure Of Dawson State Jail

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – More than two-dozen national and state groups are calling for the closure of Dawson State Jail in Dallas.

The ACLU, Human Rights Defense Center, The Justice Policy Institute, and several other groups sent Texas lawmakers a letter calling for the jail to shut it's doors.

The letter states Dawson Jail is "putting incarcerated people at risk with poor conditions -- and creating liability for the state of Texas."

It also cites CBS 11's investigations into the questionable deaths of several inmates, including the story of one woman who gave birth to a premature baby in a toilet. The baby died four days later.

The facility is run by CCA, a prison management company in Tennessee. CCA's contract expires in August.

Grass Roots Leadership, a national social justice organization, is one of the groups that signed the letter sent to lawmakers.

Executive director Bob Lidal says the coalition is asking to close the jail now to save state money and possibly save lives.

"It has become abundantly clear this facility is unsafe for the people who are incarcerated in the facility and there is a growing momentum around the state and the country to close this facility."

CCA sent CBS 11 a statement, which reads in part:

"It's "unfortunate that these organizations are so closed-minded -- when it comes to facts that might challenge their political agendas."

CCA says it provides safe housing.

MORE: CBS 11 Investigates: Woman Dies After Being Held Sick At Dawson State Jail For Days
MORE: Mysterious Jail Death Raises Questions
MORE: Another Family Blames Dawson State Jail For Inmate Death
MORE: Guards Come Forward In Dawson Jail Investigation

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