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Emerald Mineral Wells Prison Hearing Set for Thursday

A controversial proposed Emerald detention center in Mineral Wells will be the subject of a public meeting, albeit one facilitated by the private prison company, on Thursday, according to an article in the Mineral Wells Index ("ICE detention facility public hearing set for Thursday at MWHS," March 31).

The Mineral Wells City Council is hosting a question-and-comment time Thursday evening at the Mineral Wells High School cafeteria on the proposed Emerald Companies correctional and detention facility.

Emerald will be presenting information on the proposed facility to hold Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees at the 6:30 p.m. meeting. The public will also have a chance to comment on the project. The meeting was scheduled after city council members agreed to table the issue of a land use permit at the March 17 city council meeting.

Emerald Companies entered a 90-day option agreement in January with the Industrial Foundation to obtain nearly 62 acres northeast of the airport to build a detention facility. 

Several things jump out at me about this story.  First, this hearing appears to be an attempt by Emerald to diffuse criticism that was aired at a hearing earlier this month.  Particularly, Mineral Wells residents spoke against the potential economic negative impacts that the prison could bring to the community, a concern confirmed by the research on the subject. These concerns, amongst others, led Caldwell County residents to reject two similar detention centers last year.  

Second, while Emerald has consistently stated that this facility will be an ICE detention facility, I'm skeptical that ICE has actually solicited this facility.  Rather, I'd imagine that this facility is being built on speculation that they will get an ICE detention contract, which, given Mineral Wells location an hour and a half west of Dallas, does not seem to be a given.

Third, I wonder if Emerald will address lawsuits and scandals that have dogged several of its facilities, including its detention center in La Salle County.  In that county, ongoing disputes over the management agreement have led the county to sue Emerald over breach of contract issues last year.  The complaint is attached to this post.

We'll let you know what happens in Mineral Wells tomorrow.  

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A “SINGLE VOICE PROJECT” is the official name of the petition sponsored by: The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP) THIS PETITION SEEKS TO ABOLISH ALL PRIVATE PRISONS IN THE UNITED STATES, (or any place subject to its jurisdiction) The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP) is a grass roots organization driven by a single objective. We want the United States government to reclaim sole authority for state and federal prisons on US soil. We want the United States Congress to immediately rescind all state and federal contracts that permit private prisons “for profit” to exist in the United States, or any place subject to its jurisdiction. We understand that the problems that currently plague our government, its criminal justice system and in particular, the state & federal bureau of prisons (and most correctional and rehabilitation facilities) are massive. However, it is our solemn belief that the solutions for prison reform will remain unattainable and virtually impossible as long as private prisons for profit are permitted to operate in America. Prior to the past month, and the fiasco of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Lehman Brothers, and now the “Big Three” American Automobile manufacturers, the NPSCTAPP has always felt compelled to highlight the “moral Bottom line” when it comes to corrections and privatization. Although, we remain confounded by the reality that our government has allowed our justice system to be operated by private interests. The NPSCTAPP philosophy has always been “justice” should not be for sale at any price. It is our belief that the inherent and most fundamental responsibility of the criminal justice system should not be shirked, or “jobbed-out.” This is not the same as privatizing the post office or some trash pick up service in the community. There has to be a loss of meaning and purpose when an inmate looks at a guard’s uniform and instead of seeing an emblem that reads State Department of Corrections or Federal Bureau of Prisons, he sees one that says: “Atlas Prison Corporation.” Let’s assume that the real danger of privatization is not some innate inhumanity on the part of its practitioners but rather the added financial incentives that reward inhumanity. The same logic that motivates companies to operate prisons more efficiently also encourages them to cut corners at the expense of workers, prisoners and the public. Every penny they do not spend on food, medical care or training for guards is a dime they can pocket. What happens when the pennies pocketed are not enough for the shareholders? Who will bailout the private prison industry when they hold the government and the American people hostage with the threat of financial failure…“bankruptcy?” What was unimaginable a month ago merits serious consideration today. State and Federal prison programs originate from government design, and therefore, need to be maintained by the government. It’s time to restore the principles and the vacated promise of our judicial system. John F. Kennedy said, “The time to repair the roof is while the sun is shinning”. Well the sun may not be shinning but, it’s not a bad time to begin repair on a dangerous roof that is certain to fall…. because, “Incarcerating people for profit is, in a word WRONG” There is an urgent need for the good people of this country to emerge from the shadows of cynicism, indifference, apathy and those other dark places that we migrate to when we are overwhelmed by frustration and the loss of hope. It is our hope that you will support the NPSCTAPP with a show of solidarity by signing our petition. We intend to assemble a collection of one million signatures, which will subsequently be attached to a proposition for consideration. This proposition will be presented to both, the Speaker Of The House Of Representatives (Nancy Pelosi) and the United States Congress. Please Help Us. We Need Your Support. Help Us Spread The Word About This Monumental And Courageous Challenge To Create Positive Change. Place The Link To The Petition On Your Website! Pass It On! The SINGLE VOICE PETITION and the effort to abolish private “for profit” prisons is the sole intent of NPSCTAPP. Our project does not contain any additional agendas. We have no solutions or suggestions regarding prison reform. However, we are unyielding in our belief that the answers to the many problems which currently plague this nation’s criminal justice system and its penal system in particular, cannot and will not be found within or assisted by the private “for profit” prison business. The private “for profit” prison business has a stranglehold on our criminal justice system. Its vice-like grip continues to choke the possibility of justice, fairness, and responsibility from both state and federal systems. These new slave plantations are not the answer! For more information please visit: or email: To sign the petition please visit: THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! William Thomas National Community Outreach Facilitator The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons P.O. Box 156423 San Francisco, California 94115

Very useful website, wants to see much more on it! Go on!

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