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Harris County ends use of private prisons

Harris County has brought all of its outsourced prisoners back to Harris County, reports Houston Public Media.

 

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, who was elected in January, brought prisoners back from private prisons to Harris County within three months of his election. Though private prisons are notorious for the mistreatment of their prisoners, Sheriff Gonzalez said he moved them back for budgetary reasons.

 

According to the Harris County Sheriff’s department, the department spent around $4.5 million sending prisoners to private prisons outside of Harris County. This fiscal year the county is expected to spend under $300,000.

 

When discussing the budget, Sheriff Gonzalez said, "I simply think we incarcerate way too many folks; and there is a cost associated with that. Whether it be the cost of daily housing or sometimes outsourcing inmates. So I think that we need to change those practices… And that’s why I’m a big advocate for reform, and really addressing our mass incarceration complex that we have in this country."

 

He also said that there were other benefits to bringing the prisoners back to Harris County. The facility can have more control over things such as medical records. It is also beneficial because loved ones can visit without having to travel to other cities or counties.

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