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Trouble private prison featured in NPR story put on auction block

Littlefield's troubled Bill Clayton Detention Center in west Texas, featured last month in an NPR expose about the problems with speculative private prison building, is now, literally, on the auction block

According to a press release this morning on Business Wire ("Williams & Williams to Auction Medium Security Detention Center in Littlefield, TX On July 28th," June 7)

A unique opportunity to acquire a turn-key medium security detention center will be offered when Williams & Williams Marketing Services, Inc. auctions the Littlefield, TX-based Bill Clayton Detention Center on July 28th at 11 am CDT. Offered in cooperation with Coldwell Banker Commercial Rick Canup Realtors, the property will sell to the highest bidder above the opening bid of $5,000,000. Interested buyers can bid on site or live from anywhere via www.auctionnetwork.com.

However, buyers may be wary of such a purchase. Littlefield has been paying back loans it floated to build the prison facility before its closure in 2008. That year, the state of Idaho pulled its prisoners from the facility, then operated by GEO Group, after the suicide of Randall McCullough, who, according to news reports, had spent more than a year in solitary confinement. GEO was later hit with a massive lawsuit over in the McCullough case.

Since the facility's closure, Littlefield has had its bond ratings dropped and turned to two different private prison companies in an effort to fill the prison beds.  One has to wonder why, given this history, a different owner would be more successful in turning this "turn-key detention center" into a financial success.

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