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Opposition Emerges to Emerald Detention Center in Mineral Wells

Readers of Texas Prison Bid'ness may remember an Emerald Companies proposed immigrant detention in Caldwell County that was defeated after significant community opposition.  It appears that a similar groundswell of opposition may be rising in Mineral Wells, where Emerald has proposed another immigrant detention center. 

We first reported the new detention center proposal in February.  Now, the Mineral Wells city council has delayed a vote on the facility for 30 days and promised public hearings on the proposed facility, according to a thorough article by Libby Cluett in the Mineral Wells Index ("ICE facility permit tabled," March 19).  

Several citizens voiced their concerns Tuesday night over the city issuing a specific use permit to site the proposed Emerald Companies correctional and detention facility in the light industrial area near the Mineral Wells airport.

A group, including neighboring property owners and businesses, shared their diverse concerns, which led to a motion to table the decision to issue Emerald their needed permit to build an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detainee facility.

Some questioned the economic expense to the community versus the city’s potential gains. Others questioned moral issues regarding such ICE facilities.

Decision-makers in Mineral Wells may wish to look at the Grassroots Leadership pamphlet Considering a Private Jail? (PDF) or view our previous posts here, here, and here on prisons as economic development before moving ahead with the proposal.  We'll keep you posted 

Comments

I am one of the many in opposition to the "Immigration Detention Facility" being built in or around Mineral Wells. After much research on the internet, an interview with a private prison warden, and an interview with an Immigration Specialist who worked in law enforcement for 30+ years, I am indeed against a private prison of any type coming into Palo Pinto County. We have one prison here, Corrections Corp. of America, out on the old Ft. Wolters Army base. That's enough. The "city leaders" say that the new facility will bring jobs. Why can't CCA stay more than 70% staffed when they run ads in the employment section of the local paper every week? Emerald says they will build the facility to "maximum security" standards for OUR protection. Please! They will put any type of criminals in there to fill up the beds. If those beds aren't full, they aren't making any money! And what kind of deal is the land sale of $1 an acre??!! I would have given them 5 times that much! After much research, I do not believe that Emerald is a reputable company and it just seems that money must be going around under the table somewhere.

I, as Mayor, would like to know more about Emerald Companies as they are making a pitch to us for a prizon here in Quartzsite, az--thank you---wes

We will contact you with information. If you would like, we have recently revised a handout for public officials about private prisons in general, although it is mostly state-specific to Texas. If you give me your email address we will send you a .pdf copy.