Part of that growth is due to the expansion of the Willacy County "tent city" detention center in Raymondville. According to the statement,
The Willacy County Texas Commissioners Court approved the IGSA with the Department of Homeland Security for a 1086-bed expansion of the Willacy ICE facility. The targeted start-up for that project is January 2008.
The statement doesn't mention that Willacy County went another $50 million in debt to fund this expansion. That debt, added to the county's already staggering debt from previous prison projects, means the county is $8,700 in debt for every person residing in Willacy County.
Another protest walk to the detention center is scheduled for later this week: From the Texas Civil Rights Review,
Raymondville Walk II. October 26-27. Friday and Saturday. From the Harlingen Travel Center to Raymondville, the seat of the corruption ridden Willacy County Commissioners Court.
The MTC statement also says the company is planning to profit off of the expansion of the company's East Texas Intermediate Sanction Facility, which currently holds 300 parole offenders. According to the company,
Also in May, MTC completed construction of the 1160 bed East Texas ISF facility. The new construction added 860 beds. MTC is negotiating to fill up these additional beds with more ISF inmates or parolees.
We'll keep you updated on whether recent hearings on private prison operations and oversight will affect whether this MTC prison will be filled in the near future.
The GEO Group's stock continued to slide on Friday on concerns that the scandal and ultimate withdrawal of juvenile detainees from the company's Coke County detention center in Bronte, Texas might endanger to other contracts the company has in Texas. According to the Associated Press:
Shares of Geo Group Inc. dropped Friday on concerns that it may lose more contracts in Texas, while shares of other private prison operators rose.
The Texas Youth Commission canceled a contract with Geo Group Tuesday, following an audit that said conditions at the Coke County Juvenile Justice Center were unsafe and unsanitary. The center was the largest private juvenile prison in Texas, and brought Geo Group about $2 million in revenue per quarter.
On Friday, AvondalePartners analyst Kevin Campbell said Texas state legislators are considering a review of Geo's other contracts in the state.
The stock dropped $2.08, or 7 percent, to $27.76.
It's better news for CCA which has seen their stock prices grow in recent days, despite Williamson County possibly terminating the contract to operate the notorious T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor this coming week. Again from the AP:
Corrections Corp. of America said it increased a contract with the state of California, and will provide housing for up to 7,772 inmates. It previously agreed to house 5,670 inmates. Shares rose $1.54, or 6.1 percent, to $26.85.
Cornell "stock rose $1.13, or 4.5 percent, to $26.19, and reached an annual high of $26.21."
You can always see the latest financial info for GEO group at: http://finance.google.com/finance?q=geo+group&hl=en&aq=t
The San Antonio Express-News had a revealing story yesterday reporting that John Reynolds, long-time campaign manager and friend to indicted now ex-Bexar County Sheriff Ralph Lopez, pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft in conjunction with his role in the Premier Management bribery scandal.
According to the article, Reynolds
"told Premier to pay the equivalent of 1 percent of commissary sales to Lopez's campaign fund and give three payments of $7,500 each that Reynolds said were donations to the Optimists, when, in fact, the money went into his own bank accounts.
Williamson testified that he called Reynolds this past spring, as the investigation was heating up, and asked him for receipts for the three $7,500 donations.
Williamson said there was dead silence until John Reynolds stated, 'You're killing me; you're killing me,' at which time Ian Williamson claimed it was then that he realized that John Reynolds had never delivered the donations," according to court documents.
At one point, Williamson stated, Reynolds demanded a consulting fee of $5,014. When Williamson asked why he shouldn't write a check for a round $5,000, he said Reynolds replied: "that $5,000 looked too funny."
Other filings by the district attorney's office have shown checks made out to Reynolds' accounts and signed by Michael LeBlanc, who is an owner of Premier along with his brother Patrick, and by Chris Burch, who replaced Williamson as Premier's CEO."
Sheriff Lopez recently pleaded no contest to receiving an inappropriate $10,000 trip to Costa Rica paid for by Premier. Premier ended their contract with the County after the scandal broke. As we’ve noted, Premier Management is owned by Pat and Michael LeBlanc, owners of private prison firm LCS Corrections.
As part of his guilty plea, Reynolds will be required to speak openly to investigators about all of the business dealings of Premier, the LeBlanc brothers, and LCS Corrections, amongst other companies he was involved in.
Our previous coverage on the Bexar County scandal:
And from Grits for Breakfast:
The Mineral Wells Index reported that local officials issued reimbursement requests for responding to the prison riot at the privately managed pre-parole facility in town. According to reports, the Mineral Wells Police Department and the Palo Pinto County Sheriff’s Department submitted requests to Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), asking for reimbursement for their officers’ overtime as well as the damage to a police patrol car.
Mineral Wells Police Chief Jerry White said they are requesting reimbursement for 42 hours and 36 minutes of overtime that were accrued between the additional dispatcher and 14 officers that were called in to assist. The request for reimbursement for personnel totaled $1,543.36.
Additional costs include replacing the rear window of a police car damaged during the riot to the tune of $260. According to reports, local officials had to respond to other riots as well and in 2005 requested $1,780.85.
It also appears that officials may not be getting reimbursed completely for the expenses incurred. For example, a request issued by Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer did not include itemizations for his time, the chief deputy and four deputies who were on-duty at the time and responded to the riot.
Many times these extra costs are not considered when lawmakers decide to contract out incarceration to private companies like CCA. Considering all possible costs should challenge lawmakers not to transfer responsibility of incarcerating prisoners to for-profit corporations.