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Community backlash influenced family detention decision

According to the Corpus Christi Caller times, Jim Wells county officials have voted against continuing negotiations with Serco, a UK-based company that runs private prisons and detention centers in the UK and Australia. Serco had proposed to use a shuttered nursing home in the area as the location of a new family detention center.

County commissioners first voted on June 6 to allow Jim Wells County Judge Pedro Treviño to enter negotiations with Serco over a proposed family detention center located in the county.

The county held a public hearing to get input from the community. During that hearing, there was backlash from the public, including the local bishop, immigration organizations and others. 

Due to the backlash at that first hearing, County Judge Treviño did not want negotiations to continue unless a second hearing was held within the week in San Diego, the town where the new family detention center was proposed. The purpose of a hearing would have been to give a chance for community members to voice and address any concerns they may have around a new family detention center in their community. However, Serco shut down the idea of a second hearing, citing time restraints. 

The lack of a second hearing, on top of the earlier response from the community, led the Jim Wells County Commissioners Court to vote against continuing negotiations with Serco. 

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