Mitch Mitchell raises the issue of the Texas speculative prison boon goin
g bust in an excellent story in Saturday's Fort Worth Star Telegram
("Texas prison boom going bust
," September 3). The story starts by covering the state's closure of GEO Group's North Texas Intermediate Sanction Facility as part of broad cuts to the prison system by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
"The Texas Department of Criminal Justice earlier this year announced $40 million in expense cuts. Those reductions included not renewing the contract for the North Texas ISF, department spokesman Jason Clark wrote in an e-mail.
"We have enough vacant beds available to cover our operational needs and maintain current ISF operational levels into 2012," he wrote.
The city of Fort Worth, which owns the 424-bed prison building, plans to seek a new tenant or tenants once the lease with the GEO Group, the firm that managed the prison, expires at the end of September, said city spokesman Bill Begley. The facility has been vacant since Feb. 28, when TDCJ's contract with the GEO Group expired, said Bobby Lumpkin, who works with the state's private prison contractor division.
GEO officials declined to comment."