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Limestone County seeks new prison operator to replace CEC

Community Education Centers, the for-profit prison corporation that recently lost its contract with McLennan County to run the Jack Harwell Detention Center, has also ended its agreement with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to house men at the Limestone County Detention Center.  We first learned of this story in March, when employees at the facility received letters informing them that their jobs would be on the line come the end of their contract on May 31.

Limestone County is currently seeking another operator for the prison and another source of "income" (incarcerated people).  Tomorrow, just one week before the CEC contract expires, county commissions begin looking at bids from other for-profit prison companies to run the facility.  The San Antonio divison of ICE has expressed interest in using at least 500 beds of the 1,025 in the facility, which county officials say is enough to keep it solvent.

Assuming the BOP had a reason to abandon their contract, ICE's quick decision to jump into another private prison raises some serious questions about their motivations.  After all, the agency's track record with for-profit detention centers in Texas is absymal: sexual abuse at the Hutto Detention Center and Willacy "Tent City" Correctional Center; medical neglect at the Houston Processing Center; and inhumane conditions at the Polk County Detention Center (the subect of an ongoing campaign).