With the new year comes the newly proposed Texas budget plans. While seemingly no department or sector was spared from the widespread cuts, we were surprised to hear that private prison cutbacks were on the table in this tough-on-crime state:
In public safety and corrections programs, the budget report recommends shutting down a unit in Sugar Land, three Texas Youth Commission lockups and 2,000 private prison beds, a move that could close at least two additional lockups. About 1,562 prison jobs were also chopped.
Probation programs would see funding cut by 20 percent, parole supervision would be cut by almost 9 percent, and the agency's construction and maintenance funding could be cut by 83 percent, along with 90 jobs. The Victims Services Division would be eliminated. (Kate Alexander, Austin American-Statesman, "Spartan budget plan calls for broad cuts," January 19, 2011).
When browsing around the actual budget plan document itself, the Legislative Budget Board looks to other states that, in an attempt to balance the state budget, have also cut private prison contracts: