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January 2013

Sign-on Letter on Dawson State Jail Catches Press

Last week, a coalition of 25 national and state groups released a letter calling for the closure of the Dawson State Jail, a Corrections Corporation of America-operated facility in downtown Dallas.  

Criminal justice, civil liberties, policy, labor, and faith-based organizations signed onto a document delivered to Texas legislators.  The letter cites the exceptionally poor conditions at the facility for both staff and incarcerated people, cost savings, and a significant decrease in the Texas state jail population.  Signatories included the ACLU, ASFCME, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, Grassroots Leadership, and Justice Strategies.  You can read the letter and a full list of signatories here.

Ginger Allen, who has been covering the scandals at the Dawson State Jail, interviewed Bob Libal for CBS DFW.  Bob, executive director of Grassroots Leadership and columnist for this blog, said in the Skype interview:

"It has become abundantly clear this facility is unsafe for the people who are incarcerated in the facility and there is a growing momentum around the state and the country to close this facility."

Littlefield Police Chief put in charge of troubled Bill Clayton Detention Center

The police chief in Littlefield, Texas has resigned amongst and internal investigation and has taken over control of the troubled Bill Clayton Detention Center, according to a news story from KCBD ("Littlefield Police Chief Abel Cantu resigns," January 19) in Lubbock, Texas:

"Littlefield Police Chief Abel Cantu resigned on Thursday following an internal investigation conducted by the Littlefield Police Department. [...]  

Following his resignation, Cantu was given another job with the City of Littlefield, as administrator for the Bill Clayton Detention Center. He was given that position temporarily so he could fulfill the time required for his retirement on June 15, 2013."

CCA employee at T. Don Hutto detention center suspect in murder of girlfriend

In a tragic case in Austin, a

man who was apparently an employee at Corrections Corporation of America's T. Don Hutto detention center has been indicted for the murder of his girlfriend.  According to a report by KXAN ("Murder suspect is former Marine," January 4):

"The man suspected of murdering his girlfriend in Southwest Austin on December 29 is a former Marine who worked as a guard at the T Don Hutto Detention Facility in Williamson County, according to Austin police.

Ryan Clarke, 27, is charged with first degree murder in the killing of Cassandra Clark, 26. An arrest warrant for Clarke revealed Williamson County deputies found him in a white Chevy Trailblazer at the Southwest Williamson County Regional Park on Saturday morning. Clarke was slumped over the driver's seat of the vehicle. According to the arrest warrant, Clarke was covered in blood and holding a knife.

Clarke was then transported to Seton Hospital in Williamson County. The following day, Clarke told a hospital social worker he had injured someone at an apartment complex on West William Cannon in South Austin. When Austin police arrived at the apartment, they found Clark dead in the bedroom, with obvious physical trauma."

It's unclear based on the report if Mr. Clarke was employed at Hutto at the time of the alleged murder.

Blogging Categories: 

Big Stories of 2012 - #1 - Momentum Builds To Close CCA's Dawson State Jail

As we usher in 2013, Texas Prison Bid'ness is highlighting the top private prison stories of 2012, based on stories covered by our blog.  Our number one story of the year is the growing number of voices calling for the closure of Corrections Corporation of America's Dawson State Jail.   

TPB Big Story #1 - Momentum Builds to Close CCA's Dawson State Jail

For several years, advocates, legislators, and community leaders have advocated for the closure of

Corrections Corporation of America's Dawson State Jail.  As Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast put it in 2010:

"This ill-placed facility is located in downtown Dallas on the banks of the Trinity River in prime real estate the city hopes to redevelop. So the fact that Dawson's contract ends on January 15, 2011 is a significant date for the city of Dallas: If the state renews the contract, the proposed riverfront redevelopment could be put on hold indefinitely. It's possible, then, we may see members of the Dallas delegation and related development interests pushing for non-renewal, though certainly CCA will have its own lobbyists on the other side."

Blogging Categories: 

Big Stories of 2012 - #2 - GEO Group Loses Bid to Expand Mental Health Care Operations, Take Over Kerrville State Hospital

As we usher in 2013, Texas Prison Bid'ness is highlighting the top private prison stories of 2012, based on stories covered by our blog.  Our number two story of the year is GEO Group's failed attempt to take over operations at the Kerrville State Hospital.   

TPB Big Story #2 - GEO Group Loses Bid to Take Over Kerrville State Hospital

This summer, media in Texas reported tha

t GEO Care, a subsidiary of private prison corporation GEO Group, had plans to take over the management of a Texas State Hospital, where indigent people with mental illness and forensic patients incompetent to stand trial are rehabilitated.  The takeover would be pursuant to a rider snuck into the 2011 legislative session that mandated the privatization of one state hopsital.  It quickly was discovered that GEO Care had submitted the sole bid on to take over one facility - the Kerrville State Hospital.