You are here

Sheriff's Deputies Protest Privatization Protest in McLennan County

KWTX has a story ("Sheriff’s Officers Concerned About Private Jail Proposals" June 24, 2008) about McLennan County Sheriff's Deputies protesting turning over even more of the county's jail system to a private company. According to the article,

Sheriff’s officers packed the meeting of the McLennan County Commissioner’s Court Tuesday to air concerns about proposals that would turn operation of county jail facilities over to a private company.

A private firm now operates the downtown jail, but other facilities are still county-run.

But the county is under mounting pressure to solve its jail-overcrowding problem and one option commissioners are considering is construction of a new jail big enough to hold a thousand prisoners.

The price tag for the facility could run as high as $60 million. Among the options on the table is hiring a private company to build and operate the new jail.

Without the new facility, County Judge Jim Lewis projects that by 2010, the county will be renting space for almost 450 prisoners it doesn't have room for, at a total cost of nearly $27,000 a day or almost $10 million a year.

We believe that a county can't build its way out of an overcrowding problem. And, as both Nicole on this blog and Grits for breakfast have noted here and here, common sense solutions to reduce the incarcerated populations exist in nearly all Texas counties.

CiviGenics, operating as CEC these days, currently operates part of the McLennan County jail system. The company has had a series of problems at the McLennan County facility - where a sexual assault scandal involving a CiviGenics employee and a controversy over company payments to the County Sheriff raised questions - The company has also been rocked by sexual assault scandals at its Liberty County and Texarakansas jails.

We'll keep you updated on developments from McLennan County.