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CEC drops the Falls County jail contract

Last week, Community Education Centers (CEC) decided to not renew their contract to manage the Falls County Detention Center in Marlin, TX. According to the Marlin Democrat:

"CEC has chosen not to renew the contract with Falls County and the detention center will come under the direction of Falls County, sometime in April. CEC, which has personnel in many jail facilities in many towns, has moved inmates to other facilities at a lower cost and couldn’t afford to pay the inmate cost at the Falls County facility...

...[County Judge Steven] Sharp said that at the last meeting of the Commissioner’s Court, “We are working on creating a budget so we can provide all services at the jail as well as amending the Sheriff’s budget to cover such expenses. We won’t loose [sic] all the outside inmates and will still be able to provide services for the local ones. One good thing to come out of this is that we keep all the profits and not have to pay private contractors." Jail capacity is 94 – 95 inmates.

Originally, the plan projected that it would take 20 years to pay for the construction of the $3.5 million structure with funds from housing prisoners to defray that cost, but the county was paying thousands of dollars each month to CEC, therefore making no profit. The county has eight more years to repay the cost of building." ("CEC does not renew contract for jail services," Marlin Democrat, January 18, 2011.)

Without a renewal of the CEC contract, it looks like Falls County is going to provide the same services for holding out-of-county inmates as CEC was contracted to do, except now the county will not pay a company to perform a function that Falls County could have performed itself. This realignment begs the question: if the county can and will continue profiting from holding outside inmates, why did the county sign a contract with CEC in the first place?

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