The Houston Chronicle reported that Harris County will send an additional 200 prisoners to a private facility in Louisiana. We have recently discussed why this is bad policy and it's implications for the local community.
Commissioners Court voted Tuesday to send an additional 200 county inmates, including 180 women, to a private Louisiana detention center to reduce overcrowding.
The Louisiana facility is owned by Emerald Correctional Management and tax payers will pay $9 million a year to incarcerate 600 prisoners from Harris County. The story states that the cost of incarceration in Louisiana is $37/day -- $5 less than in Harris County. However, officials do not explain whether those expenses include transportation and other costs. Given the history of private prison financing it is highly unlikely.
It is a shame that Harris County officials continue to rely on jail expansion rather than diversion as a strategy to contain capacity. Our pal at Grits for Breakfast has a written extensively on public policies that county officials can use to control for local jail populations.
We will continue to monitor the bad decision-making in Harris County that results in sending prisoners to private facilities out of state.