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February 2013

New Report on Dawson State Jail: The Case for Closure

At a press conference on Monday at the Texas State Capitol, representatives from Grassroots Leadership (a sponsor of this blog), the Texas Civil Rights Project, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, and the Texas Inmate Families Association announced the release of a new report calling for closure of the Dawson State Jail.  Authored by Nicole Porter of the Sentencing Project (and blogger for TPB), the report recommends that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice not renew its contract with CCA for the facility in August, that state appropriators should zero out its funding, and that Texas focus on community supervision rather than incarceration.

CEC Staff Indicted on Federal Bribery Charges

Recently, officials from the Department of Justice, charged 13 Ector County Correctional Center employees with bribery.  The private jail employees are alleged to have supplied federal inmates with contraband items such as cell phones, marijuana and tobacco in return for cash.  According to a report by the Odessa American ("Federal Jail Employees Indicted," January 4):

"All 13 suspects were arrested Wednesday on bribery counts related to banned items smuggled to inmates in the federal detention facility. Investigators say the contraband included cellphones, charges, tobacco and marijuana. The cases go back to 2011."

The Ector County Correctional Center is a federal lockup facility operated by the Community Education Centers (CEC) and is housed within the Ector County Courthouse.  According to recent reports the indicted employees were fired.  Yet the prison has been plagued with previous scandals that we have noted before.

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