On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to attend and provide testimony to the McLennan County Commissioners Court along with members of the McLennan County Sheriff Officer's Association and the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas about a proposed jail privatization plan.
The meeting, for the third week in a row, was packed with Sheriff's Officers opposing the proposal. The front page of Tuesday's Waco Tribune blared "Jailers to Sheriff: No Privatization," a sentiment that pretty accurately described the mood of the meeting.
The agenda started with public comment which included members of the Waco Police Department, other law enforcement agencies, and members of the public denouncing the privatization plan on the grounds of public safety, job security for those that work at the jail facilities, and the rights of those incarcerated at the jail.
At the beginning on the meeting's formal agenda, a county clerk reported that despite sending a request for proposal nearly a dozen private prison corporations, the county only recieved one proposal - from CEC/CiviGenics which already has a jail contract with the county. I found it odd that the big private prison corporations like CCA and GEO wouldn't submit a bid for this contract, but the single bid might have something to do with CEC/CiviGenics close relationship with the McLennan County Sheriff.