You are here

McLennan County Opposition to Jail Privatization Plan

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to attend and provide testimony to the McLennan County Commissioners Court along with members of the McLennan County Sheriff Officer's Association and the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas about a proposed jail privatization plan.

The meeting, for the third week in a row, was packed with Sheriff's Officers opposing the proposal. The front page of Tuesday's Waco Tribune blared "Jailers to Sheriff: No Privatization," a sentiment that pretty accurately described the mood of the meeting.

The agenda started with public comment which included members of the Waco Police Department, other law enforcement agencies, and members of the public denouncing the privatization plan on the grounds of public safety, job security for those that work at the jail facilities, and the rights of those incarcerated at the jail.

At the beginning on the meeting's formal agenda, a county clerk reported that despite sending a request for proposal nearly a dozen private prison corporations, the county only recieved one proposal - from CEC/CiviGenics which already has a jail contract with the county. I found it odd that the big private prison corporations like CCA and GEO wouldn't submit a bid for this contract, but the single bid might have something to do with CEC/CiviGenics close relationship with the McLennan County Sheriff.

At the end of the meeting I testified along with Ken Witt and Rick White from the Sheriff Officers Association and members of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas. The testimony largely focused on public safety and human rights violations of inmates that tend to occur in private jail facilities.

For more media coverage on the McLennan County jail fight, see these press sources:

Waco Trib: Sheriff Association Calls on Sheriff to Oppose Privatization Plan

Waco Trib: McLennan County Recieves Single Bid for County Jail Proposal

KWTX: McLennan Receives 1 Bid for County Jail

The issue is scheduled to be on this coming Tuesday's county agenda. We'll keep you posted on developments from McLennan County as they come.

Blogging Categories: