“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

Private food workers charged with improper sexual activity at Tom Green Jail

Two food service workers for Aramark Correctional Services have been charged with improper sexual activity with prisoners at the Tom Green County Jail in San Angelo, according to a report in the Abilene Reporter-News:

"Luis Carlos Ayala, 51, and Shannon Lorrian Strasburg, 45, were arrested and charged Tuesday with violations of the civil rights of person in custody; improper sexual activity with person in custody, according to a news release from the Tom Green County Sheriff's Office. The two are private employees of the contractor that prepares meals in the jail, the release states.

Ayala and Strasburg were charged with "separate and distinct violations" and booked into the Tom Green County Jail, according to the release. The charge is a state jail felony, punishable by 180 days to two years confinement and up to $10,000 in fines.

The Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division received information that the offenses were taking place in the jail and conducted several interviews, the release states. Investigators presented the information they'd gathered to the District Attorney's Office and obtained warrants for both suspects."

The Tom Green County Jail is operated by the county and not a private operator, but sub-contracts out food service to the Pennsylvania-based Aramark, according to the story.  Aramark's current contract, signed in 2014, runs through August.  

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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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Dimmit County votes down proposed new family detention camp

The Dimmit County Commissioners Court voted Monday June 27 against a proposal to open a new facility to detain immigrant families for profit.

The South Carolina company Stratton Oilfields would have operated the 1000-bed facility in Carizzo Springs, which previously a “man camp” for oil field workers but now sits empty after the “oil bust.”

The vote is another strike against building another family detention camp in south Texas after Jim Wells County also unanimously rejected a proposal brought by British private prison corporation, Serco Inc. in July.

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Dimmit County could vote Monday on proposed new family detention facility

Dimmit County Commissioners could vote Monday on whether to move forward with a proposal to open a new immigrant family detention center in the Carizzo Springs, Texas.

The proposed facility site is a prior oil “man camp” owned by Stratton Oilfields, which is currently vacant.

Commissioners will hear public comment on this issue Monday from a Stratton representative and area residents.

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