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GEO Group Could Buy the Joe Corley Detention Center


Montgomery Co

unty is trying to sell off the Joe Corley Detention Facility, an immigrant detention center that's been the subject of a federal investigation and a money-drain on the county.  The only company to make a bid on the facility -- billed at $55 million -- was GEO Group, the for-profit private prison currently running it.  The Montgomery County Courrier reports that

The Joe Corley center, which opened in August 2008, was put up for sale in January when it was discovered the bonds used to finance the $44.8 million project would lose their tax-exempt status.

County officials established a minimum purchase price of $55 million to cover the jail’s outstanding debt (less than $38 million) and approximately $7 million in fines for losing that tax-exempt status.

We've been reporting on the Joe Corley facility since 2008, when Montgomery County began contracting to detain people for the United States Marshalls Service in addition to ICE and the Bureau of Prisons.  Since then there have been a string of incidents, including a suicide attempt; a lawsuit when air conditioning was shut off during the summer; the financial burden of an empty prison; and allegations of financial misconduct.

Our friends at LIFT-Houston will be holding a vigil outside of the Joe Corley Detention Facility on Saturday to protest the immigrant detention system and show solidarity with those trapped within it.  From their Facebook event page:

Join LIFT-Houston and community allies in a vigil to show support for the families of Jayron Lopez and Pablo Ortiz-Matamoros. Pablo, detained at the facility for nearly 3 months, died of lymphoma in early February 2013. Jayron is currently detained and we demand his immediate release. 

We are calling on ICE to exercise prosecutorial discretion and release Mr. Lopez to be back with his family and community. In addition, we ask that all low-priority detainees be released immediately.


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