According to Scott at Grits for Breakfast, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), reports they are unable to expand in prison treatment ("Lack of private beds shouldn't stop Texas from using treatment, diversion strategies", Oct. 1).
The reason, money for treatment authorized by the state legislature in 2007, depends on private capacity to provide in prison treatment beds. We have mentioned previously and Scott reasserts that a primary factor in supposed 2007 criminal justice reforms depended on private capacity. According to Scott:
I'm not an inherent critic of privatization and tend to consider its merits on a case by case basis. But when that strategy can't meet the state's needs, there's nothing wrong with the state operating those beds itself just like the government owns most Texas' prison facilities. If private capacity has all dried up, that's exactly what they should do.
Scott is certainly right there. But of course the state relying on private capacity to meet it's needs is one of the problems with private prisons period. If Texas was constrained by current capacity and conservative fiscal policy, discussions to expand any prison beds would be very different.
With private prison companies always available to provide beds -- though they aren't bidding for private treatment contracts-- begs the question: Why do Texas officials fall for these failed incarceration policies?
I am quite certain that one of the primary reasons private contractors aren't bidding for the new contracts is due to the cost of providing treatment. They have probably run the numbers and figure they wouldn't make an actual profit.