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CorPlan brings private detention center scheme to Italy, Texas

Argyle, Texas-based private prison development firm CorPlan has brought its much-rejected private detention center proposal to Italy, Texas - a small community just south of Waxahachi and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, according to the Italy Neotribune ("Italy City Council hears proposal for commercial development," May 18),

"James Parkey along with associates Kent Bratcher and Gary McKibben of James Parkey Associates presented their proposal of a detention center for illegal immigrants for all nationalities to be built in Italy. They would like to put it on fifty acres. He stated the building would look like a school. There would be no guard houses, no guard dogs, but would be a gorilla proof facility with a fence. The facility would only be used as a processing center and would be designed to current building codes.

Parkey explained it would be a five hundred bed facility and would provide approximately one hundred and fifty jobs. The hired employees would be put through training and at the end of their training they would be a licensed correction officer."

Parkey and his associates have traveled across the southwest pitching supposed "family immigrant detention centers."  Last month, a CorPlan proposal met blistering criticism in Globe, Arizona ("Revisiting Globe's prison proposal: Companies behind project have a questionable past," Arizona Silver Belt, June 9th)   including in an attempt to persuade the city of Weslaco to finance such a facility with the help of State Representative Eddie Lucio, III.  According to Forrest Wilder's coverage at the Texas Observer ("For the Lucios, Private Prison Consulting is a Family Affair," April 23), 

"In recent years, Corplan has been at the center of numerous controversies, including a bizarre prison-building scheme in Hardin, Montana that involved a private military force called American Police Force run by an ex-con. The prison cost the small town $27 million but never housed any prisoners.

In one of his latest gambits, Parkey has approached city officials in several towns across the U.S. – Benson, Arizona; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Weslaco, Texas – with a proposal to build a new detention center for immigrant families.  Parkey’s reputation, however, has caught up with him in Las Cruces and Benson, where officials have nixed the deal."

One of the many problems with this supposed family detention center was that ICE is no longer soliciting family detention centers from contractors.  Even so, a prison developer could be paid up front if a community were to build such a facility on speculation of a contract, regardless of the success of the project.  Thus far, we have seen no media coverage outside the NeoTribune of Italy proposal, but we'll continue to monitor the situation and let you know the developments.

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