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Ellis County issues RFP to privatize its county jail

It's safe to say that this hasn't been a particularly good 12 months for private prison corporations in Texas.  

Harris County rejected a proposal privatizing its jail system last year.  The Texas legislature has ordered the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to close two private prisons in its recently concluded legislative session.  And counties are reconsidering their relationships with private prison corporations - Liberty County is debating de-privatizing in an effort to save money, McLennan County and Limestone County are both looking for new operators after private prison corporation Community Education Centers failed to bring in or maintain federal contracts.  

Apparently Ellis County is bucking that trend.  With its county seat in Waxahatchie, just south of Dallas, Ellis has issued an RFP for bids to take over its county jail.  The proposal is not without opposition.  Back in March, when the proposal was first floated by County Commisioners, Former Republican Precinct Chairman Dave Vance penned an op-ed in the Waxahatchie Daily Light arguing:

"As has been identified in numerous studies, reducing the salaries and benefits of detention officers results in increased turnover, a decrease in qualified applicants and substandard performance. Quality of service is significantly reduced. Reducing staffing levels results in the same problems."

RFP bids are due July 1st.  We will keep you posted on developments from Ellis County.