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Clarksville City Council Considers Private Prison

Clarksville City Council, in Red River County, is considering a private prison facility. According to recent reports in The Paris News city officials are competing for Emerald Correctional Management to build the facility in their backyard.

Clarksville City Council gave its approval to the submission at a May 20 meeting. If approved, the facility will be under private contract for 10 years. After bond retirement, the title reverts to the city.

From reports, it seems that Emerald will target its efforts to federal agencies to imprison undocumented immigrants and be the latest site for expanding national detention capacity.

The facility would house 2,500 [undocumented immigrants] and would be considered a medium/minimum security facility.

Officials mistakenly think that building this prison in their backyard would contribute to economic development and increase jobs in the area.

Folks in Clarksville need to learn from the research that debunks that myth. For example the research published by blog contributor Bob Libal and his colleagues at Grassroots Leadership. They developed the report Considering a Private Jail, Prison, or Detention Center as a resource for public officials considering these decisions. The report debunks the myth that prisons contribute to economic growth.

The research reveals that prisons have not played a prominent role in economic growth in either metropolitan or rural counties. Moreover, new prisons actually impeded private and total economic growth in depressed rural counties. Contrary to the widely held beliefs about this subject, there was no evidence at all that prisons helped to lower unemployment rates, raise median family incomes, or increase earnings.

It will be interesting to track the developments that happen in Clarksville and whether Red River County will be the latest location for a private prison.