McLennan County is shaping up to be the biggest private prison fight in the state right now, and the rhetoric keeps getting hotter. We've reported that a CEC/CiviGenics proposal to take over the existing county jail was defeated last week. Now, a proposal for a new 1,000 bed private CEC/CiviGenics jail is under fire as well.
The Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas or CLEAT, the union representing jailers in McLennan County, is calling for an investigation into potentially improper dealings between county officials and the private prison corporation. According to another good article by Waco Tribune writer Tommy Witherspoon,
A spokesman for the state’s largest law enforcement association is calling for state and federal investigations into dealings between McLennan County officials and a private detention corporation as the county continues to negotiate jail contracts.
“First of all, we don’t believe anything that officials in McLennan County say anymore,” said Charley Wilkison, political and legislative director for the 16,500-member Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas. “The credibility gap in this county is incredible.”
According to the article, the CLEAT's concerns center around Sheriff Lynch's acceptance of additional money from the private prison corporation on top of his county salary, and whether that relationship has tainted his ability to objectively decide on the issue of privatization.