Due to the election cycle, we stand to learn a great deal about public officials and their relationships to private prison companies. A prime example are the recent reports found in the Waco Tribune that disclose private prison corporation CiviGenics paid $12,000 a year to McLennan County Sheriff Larry Lynch.
... Lynch’s salary being boosted by an extra $12,000 a year and paid by CiviGenics, a private detention company that has been leasing the downtown county jail since before Lynch became sheriff.
In the article, Lynch states that the CiviGenics payments go back ten years before he became Sheriff, netting Lynch and his predecessor a total of $120,000. According to the Sheriff, the stipend is a feature of the contract authorized by the McClennan County Commissioners Court.
This story is the latest example of how private prison contractors acquire influence with public officials at all levels of government using money and other strategies. According to the article, the county has sent 100 prisoners to CiviGenics for the past six months despite 250 beds being available downtown in recent weeks.
We will continue to post information regarding the relationship of public officials to private prison companies. It is more than likely that these details will continue to surface over the next few months.