You are here

CEC's Jack Harwell Detention Center in Waco Sits Empty

Community Education Centers' speculatively-built Jack Harwell Detention Center in Waco, TX is still empty, two months after construction was finished. According to the Waco Tribune, CEC is still having troubles finding a federal agency to contract with the facility:

Community Education Centers, the New Jersey-based detention company under contract to manage and operate the jail, has been unable to secure agreements with state and federal agencies to house inmates.

Meanwhile, CEC must begin repaying the $49 million in project revenue bonds that financed the construction of the jail. The $313,000 monthly debt service is to be paid using revenue from housing inmates, placing the company under a crunch to fill beds.

While funds already have been set aside for the first payment of $1.9 million due in June, CEC must begin making revenue soon or risk defaulting on the bonds. Doing so would mean the county loses the new jail. (Regina Dennis, Waco Tribune, "A new jail in McLennan County--but no inmates to fill it," 23 April, 2010)

CEC was unable to find a sufficient amount of inmates to fill the facility in order to pay for the bond with revenue from housing inmates, which could put the county's Public Facility Corporation at risk of defaulting on a $49 million (plus interest). 

Attorney for the County, Herbert Bristow, was quoted in the article saying that the County is not liable to make payments in the case of a default. The facility belongs to the County's Public Facility Corporation. CEC is managing and operating the facility while the County's PFC pays for the construction and maintenance of the infrastructure, which puts the PFC on the hook for payments. 

Rick White, a long-standing follower of this McLennan County bond issue, told me Bristow "tried to convince the taxpayers who are on the hook for this $50 million, plus interest that [this facility] is a 'private jail.' Nothing could be farther from the truth." I tried to gather a response from Bristow, but he was unavailable for comment.

When reviewing the bond's text, there are many places that reference the County PFC's obligations to make payments for the "private jail." Even if CEC doesn't do their part and create a revenue stream by housing prisoners, the County's PFC is still be on the hook to make payments. Nowhere in this bond does it state that CEC is responsible for anything. Their only job in this agreement is to produce revenue within the facility, and if they don't, well, they don't make any money -- but they don't lose any money, either.

However, that doesn't mean that there is no risk to the County.  As we've seen in Littlefield, TX and Hardin, MT, localities can have their bond ratings devalued based on the performance of their PFC-owned jails. 

Despite this comfortable situation that CEC is in, the company is still asking for financial help from the County. Peter Argeropulos, CEC senior vice president, said "What we expected and what the studies had indicated have not materialized at this point" to which County Commissioner Kelly Snell responded "Your plan’s not working, and it’s not working because you can’t get the prisoners, so you’re coming to the court wanting concessions that are going to cost the taxpayers money, that’s where I have a problem" (Waco Tribune, "A new jail in McLennan County--but no inmates to fill it"). The concessions the Commissioner talks about was Argeropulos' solution to move inmates from Waco's other jail downtown into the new Jack Harwell Detention Center and essentially do their job of finding inmates for them.

This is a story of a prison company promising the world to a county by ways of a 'private jail at no cost to the county!' If other counties in Texas are considering a private jail, the story of Waco is a cautionary tale that should get taken into account when considering the options. How exactly this bond plays out is something we will have to wait and see. Whatever information we gather on the subject will surely get relayed back here, so check back here in the future to read the next chapter of this failing bond saga.

Comments

I have picked cheery a lot of useful clothes outdated of this amazing blog. I’d love to return greater than and over again. Thanks! 

Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work. 24 hour emergency plumber

Today I learned a lot from your website. thank you

OBAT BATUK
OBAT ASMA
OBAT BATUK

I will keep it in mind, thanks for sharing the information keep updating, looking forward for more posts link

Extremely helpful post. This is my first time i visit here. I discovered such a variety of fascinating stuff in your online journal particularly its exchange. Truly its extraordinary article. Keep it up. plumbing

Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great workbest product reviews

It’s very informative and you are obviously very knowledgeable in this area. You have opened my eyes to varying views on this topic with interesting and solid content. nouvalift cream

hi!! Exceptionally fascinating discourse happy that I went over such educational post. Keep doing awesome. Happy to be a piece of your net group. more about the author

You can use the above given tips to choose what’s best for you while buying a pedestal sump pump. The only thing you have to focus is the quality of the products and how well it matches to your needs,  and perform the function that you require.    informative blog

Thank you for sharing the information very useful. It is very pleasant to read this article from your website.


GEJALA HERNIA
GEJALA HERNIA
GEJALA HERNIA
GEJALA HERNIA

waiting for next article, so interesting.

GEJALA HERNIA
GEJALA HERNIA
GEJALA HERNIA

"Are
you an author who is getting ready to sell your book? You've spent months,
perhaps even years, writing your book. Now it's time to learn the tough lessons
of book marketing. " buy book review

Everyone in France is not accredited to offer a loan and credit to individuals remains a supervised activity. If an individual or group promotes online financial services, the website is obliged to publish its legal information and general conditions.     <a href="http://reseaux.blog.free.fr">Le blog des arnaques sur internet</a>

Add new comment