“What happens if you privatize prisons is that you have a large industry with a vested interest in building ever-more prisons.” -- Molly Ivins, 2003

Shuttered for-profit Limestone County lockup to reopen under new management

A privately-operated lockup in Groesbeck, Texas — the Limestone County Detention Center — may reopen under new management by the LaSalle Southwest Correctional private prison corporation, according to a story at KWTX last week:

"The county-owned, but privately-operated Limestone County Detention Center, which was shuttered three years ago, leaving 240 staffers jobless, could reopen as early as next month, Limestone County Judge Daniel Burkeen confirmed Tuesday.

The county and private prison management company LaSalle Southwest Corrections signed a contract last week, Burkeen said.

"We are optimistic that as the county and the sheriff work together with LaSalle, a number of federal inmates will be able to repopulate the facility,” Burkeen said.

LaSalle also operates McLennan County’s Jack Harwell Detention Center, which handles not only federal prisoners, but also an overflow of inmates from the McLennan County Jail.

The company already has a team in place to prepare to reopen the 1,100-bed detention center, working on such things as air conditioning and heating units that haven’t been used in three years."

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Welcoming new Texas Prison Bid'ness blogger, Jorge Renaud

Jorge Renaud
We are pleased to welcome our newest Texas Prison Bid'ness blooger, Jorge Renaud.

Jorge is the Texas Advocates for Justice (TAJ) organizer at Grassroots Leadership. He comes to this work after a long journey, from prison to walking the halls of the Texas Legislature as a policy analyst for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and as an organizer with the Center for Community Change.

An occasional slam poet and a fulltime believer in the necessity of those most affected by policy to be at the forefront of change, Jorge now is devoted to assisting the incredible work of the individuals in the Texas Advocates for Justice (TAJ) as they chop away at the roots of incarceration.

Jorge's daughter lives in Huntsville and holds his heart. Jorge shoots pool; try him. 

Ector County commissioners approve contract extension for troubled CEC jail

At a Monday June 13 Commissioners Court session, Ector County Commissioners approved a one-year extension of the Community Education Centers contract to operate the Ector County Correctional Center, despite numerous issues with the operation of the facility. The jail incarcerates up to 235 federal prisoners.

The facility is located directly above the County Courthouse, which proved to be an unfortunate place to have an office after repeated water and sewage leaks from the prison upstairs. Staff were forced to cover land deed records in plastic to protect them from destruction.

CEC’s deficiencies in operating the facility don’t end with maintenance. In 2013, eight former guards were sentenced for accepting cash to deliver contraband to individuals incarcerated at the prison, and in 2008 a guard was sentenced for smuggling cell phones. A 21-year-old man also committed suicide at the facility in 2008, which may have been tied to understaffing or lack of proper monitoring procedures.

MTC tears down Willacy "Tent City" in attempt to secure new prison contract

Management and Training Corporation (MTC), owner and former operator of the Willacy County Correctional Center in Raymondville, will partially tear down remaining structures at the now-vacant prison according to KRGV News.

The company lost its contract with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) after a prisoner uprising broke out at the facility in 2015. Prisoners burned down multiple of the kevlar tents that compose what was known as “Tent City,” the site of a segregated federal prison for immigrants.

MTC told local press shortly after the uprising that it would work to secure another contract to re-open the prison. This latest move to tear down remaining tents appears to be an effort to achieve that goal, as an MTC spokesperson said the reason for the tent removal is that “the company doesn’t believe another contractor would like the idea of housing offenders in tents.”

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