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May 2013

Limestone County awards new contract to MTC

Limestone County officials selected a new operator, Management and Training Corporation (MTC), to run the Limestone County Detention Center after Community Education Centers (CEC) lost their contract in March.  

The Utah-based private prison company, MTC, will run the 1,000-bed facility, mostly to house federal immigrant prisoners.

MTC beat out 3 competitors for the contract, including Detention Management Services, a company seemingly created by Limestone County Detention Center warden and administrator Mike Sutton, who ran the prison for the past 13 years. Sutton told county officials during the bidding process that, as a stopgap measure, he'd be willing to continue to run the prison under that company name. 

In the end, however, county officials opted to award the contract to MTC.

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CEC guard arrested for allegedly smuggling drugs into Liberty County jail

A 22 year old guard employed by privat

e prison corporation Community Education Centers has been arrested and accused of smuggling drugs into the Liberty County Jail, according to the Cleveland Advocate ("Liberty County jailer arrested on drug charges," May 24):

"A Liberty County jailer has been arrested after she reportedly provided prohibited substances to inmates.

According to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, which has oversight over the management of the jail through Community Education Centers, the jailer, Latondra Natrell Brown, 22, was arrested Friday morning around 5:50 a.m. shortly after she appeared for work.

Brown, a resident of Ames, is facing three separate third-degree felony charges. She had been employed as a correction officer at the jail for about a year."

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Limestone County seeks new prison operator to replace CEC

Community Education Centers, the for-profit prison corporation that recently lost its contract with McLennan County to run the Jack Harwell Detention Center, has also ended its agreement with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to house men at the Limestone County Detention Center.  We first learned of this story in March, when employees at the facility received letters informing them that their jobs would be on the line come the end of their contract on May 31.

Limestone County is currently seeking another operator for the prison and another source of "income" (incarcerated people).  Tomorrow, just one week before the CEC contract expires, county commissions begin looking at bids from other for-profit prison companies to run the facility.  The San Antonio divison of ICE has expressed interest in using at least 500 beds of the 1,025 in the facility, which county officials say is enough to keep it solvent.

GEO Group Expanding Even More in Montgomery County

Just weeks after GEO Group purchased the Joe Corley Detention Facility from debt-ridden Montgomery County, the corporation announced plans to build a second federal jail nearby.  GEO paid $65 million for the facility, $10 million more than the county's asking price.  In return, the county commissioner court promised to support any proposal GEO made to the federal government to build a new facility.

Civil Rights groups file lawsuit against CCA for withholding information

Texas Civil R

ights Project and Prison Legal News have filed suit against Corrections Corporation for withholding information around the tragic deaths of women at CCA-run Dawson State Jail.  At a press conference on May 1, TCRP attorney Brian McGiverin stated that:

"CCA hides the truth about its management because it knows the truth is horrific.  But they won’t get away with it. Texans know how to keep government accountable. Our laws entitle us to check its homework and keep it honest. At Dawson State Jail and beyond, we intend to show CCA it is not above the law."

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McLennan County Dumps CEC, Hires LaSalle Southwestern Correctional

Commissioners in McLennan County voted on Tuesday to end the county's contract with Community Education Centers to run the Jack Harwell Detention Center.  The commissioners voted unanimously to seek proposals from new vendors in March and have decided to team up with LaSalle Corrections.

The detention center has been a strain on McLennan County since before construction began in 2008.  The county was hoping to pay off  $49 million in bonds floated by its Public Facilities Corporation and generate revenue by holding federal prisoners but never saw the numbers they anticipated.  In 2012, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards found the facility non-compliant and ICE dropped their contract at the time altogether, citing substandard care.  Currently, the facility is at less than half capacity and housing overflow from the county jail.

Joe Corley Detention Center jail sold to GEO Group


gomery County commissioners voted unanimously yesterday to sell the Joe Corley Detention Facility to GEO Group for $65 million.  The facility, which in recent years has been the subject of federal investigation into financial misconduct, has been up for sale since January.

The jail was financed with $44.8 million in tax-exempt bonds under the assumption that 30% of its beds would be used by the county by 2013; the rest of the 1,288 beds are contracted out to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the US Marshals.  However, Montgomery County's incarcerated population didn't grow as expected and, in 2012, the IRS revoked the bonds' original tax exemption.  The county now owes an additional $7 million in fines to the IRS.

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