Montgomery 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.
The fate of the Montgomery County Mental Health Treatment Facility is still in the air. When GEO Group placed a bid on Joe Corley, it also expressed interest in purchasing the 100-bed facility for $35 million; the county is waiting on an appraisal of the facility, originally built for $33 million, before making a decision. MCMHTF is the only privately-run state mental health treatment facility in Texas.
A Community Education Centers detention center in Limestone County has lost its contract to incarcerate federal prisoners at the Limestone County Detention Center, according to a KWTX story ("Jail Employees Notified Jobs In Limbo Come May," March 21) today:
"Community Education Centers notified the county recently that the Bureau of Prisons will no longer fund the privatization contract between CEC and Limestone County. CEC has been running the private jail which holds about 1,035 male inmates.
County Judge Daniel Burkeen told News 10, the county is working to confirm why the funding is cut.
Burkeen says he was told CEC sent out notices to 227 employees who work for the Limestone County Detention Facility that on May 31st, they will no longer be employed by CEC. When the jail was run by the county before, about 160 people were employed at the detention center.
The County Judge said the county will plan to run the center like before, but, he wasn't sure on how many employees will be kept. Burkeen says other options are being explored."
There's no indiciation on why the contract has been cut, but we will continue to keep you posted.
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.
The investigation in to bribery charges demonstrates larger systemic problems that plague private prisons. Research shows that the problems associated with adequately staffing private prisons compromise public safety.
We will keep y'all posted on the developments of this case.
For the last few months, Texas Prison Bid’ness has been in the process of making available private prison contracts in the state of Texas. To find a contract, visit our map, where you can search by operating company and contracting agency or explore geographically; underneath the map you can choose to see a list of the facilities operated by a company.
You can also use the search function on the left of our page to look for a specific facility. available contracts and other official documents for each of the private prison facilities in ourstate. Through Texas public information laws, we’ve been able to compile contracts from nearly every state and county facility; thanks to our allies, we also have access to a number of federal contracts. We will continue to update the site as more contracts come in.
Audits and evaluations available for some facilities, such as the Dawson State Jail. Larger files, like the contract for Reeves County Detention Complex, are split into two parts. Many federal facilities are under multiple agreements between a county, a federal agency, and a company; check out Newton County Correctional Facility and IAH (Polk) Secure Adult Detention Facility for some examples.