As we prepared to start in 2013, Texas Prison Bid'ness highlighted the top Texas private prison stories of 2012, based on stories covered by our blog. Here's the list with links to the full posts.
In the wake of tragic deaths at the facility, more and more voices are calling for the closure of the Dawson State Jail, including Senator John Whitmire and AFSCME. Advocates, politicians, and community leaders have been speaking out for several years and will be continuing their work into the 2013 legislative session; stay tuned for updates.
A major victory over GEO Group in Texas: this October, a coalition of mental health advocates, unions, religious organizations, criminal justice reform groups, and other community organizations successfully halted the privatization of the Kerrville State Hospital, which houses state patients with mental illnesses.
Early last year, CCA wrote to 48 governors promising quick financial gains in return for 20-year contracts with 90% guaranteed occupancy rates in the facilities they would operate. To date no one has taken them up on the offer.
In tandem with Detention Watch Network’s Expose and Close campaign, immigrant rights activists in Texas are speaking out against two detention centers in our state listed among the ten worst in the nation. Over a hundred protestors gathered outside of the Polk County Detention Center to call for the closure of that facility as well as the Houston Processing Center.
Mass privatization bills were defeated in Florida and Lousiana and have thus far been staved off in New Hampshire and Michigan, while more and more faith groups are speaking out formally against for-profit prisons.
As Liberty County works to reduce the number of nonviolent offenders in its jails, CEC is ramping up their fees to discourage this effort; a study out of Texas A&M found that the corporation are charging nearly twice the appropriate amount. Liberty County renewed their contract in April but is looking at de-privatization.