“What happens if you privatize prisons is that you have a large industry with a vested interest in building ever-more prisons.” -- Molly Ivins, 2003

Limestone County Detention Center is back in business

The Limestone County Detention Center in Groesbeck, Texas, is now officially back in business, as reported by KWTX.

As reported earlier, Limestone County signed a new contract with LaSalle Southwest Corrections, a private prison company. The contract saw LaSalle take over the prison and renovate it before moving 55 Harris County juvenile prisoners  into the newly opened prison. As stated when the contract was announced, the Limestone County Detention Center will be used to detain 17-year old Harris County inmates. While there are only 55 in the renovated center now, Limestone County Judge Daniel Burkeen believes that hundreds more will be moved to the facility after the first of the year. The warden, Charles Vondra, said that the population should grow to about 600 or 650 inmates.

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Supervisor at private jail convicted of supplying contraband to prisoner

 

KFDM 6 of Southeast Texas reports that a federal jury has found a Beaumont, Texas man guilty of giving a prisoner a prohibited item.

Donald Roy Kelly was also found guilty by the same jury of bribery of a public official on December 14. According to the information presented, Kelly was a shift supervisory corrections officer at the downtown Jefferson County Jail, which is operated by private prison company LaSalle Corrections.

Kelly was the supervisor in late 2014 and early 2015, when a high ranking leader of the Gulf Cartel was brought into the jail pending his trial for federal drug trafficking offenses. Kelly then approached them cartel member and offered a cell phone to the prisoner in exchange for money. He then engaged other individuals in helping him with the plan. The cell phone was purchased by another individual who then gave it to Kelly, who in turn gave it to the Gulf Cartel leader. Kelly also worked to bring fast food into the jail for the cartel leader, who had individuals attempt to transfer money into Kelly's accounts for his actions. Kelly now faces up to 15 years in a federal prison, with sentencing happening after a review by the U.S. Probation Office.

LaSalle Corrections is a private prison company that operates multiple for-profit prisons in the state of Texas. LaSalle has a history of failed inspections, inmate escapes, and sexual assault in the prisons they operate.

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Private prison company interested in vacant juvenile facility

A private prison company is interested the vacant Al Price Juvenile Center is Beaumont, Texas, reports Grits for Breakfast.

Corrections Corporation of America (which has since rebranded itself as “CoreCivic”) is hoping to turn the facility into a "secure" facility for adults with substance abuse disorders. According to The News, CCA has already spoken to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), and would defer to TDCJ for the number of inmates they would have detained at the center. County Judge Jeff Branick said "I fully support treatment programs," and that it was about time that the criminal justice system dealt with the root causes of recidivism.

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Ector County decides to extend jail contract

Ector County commissioners decided on Monday to extend the jail contract with Community Education Centers, Inc. (CEC) to operate the jail located in the Ector County courthouse, reports the Odessa American.

As we reported earlier, Ector County commissioners met to determine whether or not to extend the jail contract with CEC after a myriad of problems had plagued the jail. At the meeting on Monday, commissioners agreed to extend the contract with CEC until August of 2020.

They also approved of money from CEC to go to repairing the sewage system that has led to leaks in the county offices located below the jail. This has been an issue since March of 2016, with county commissioners at odds over how to handle the payment of repairs. That issue has been resolved, with the contract approved by the county including a one-time payment of $150,000 for pipe repairs. Precinct 1 commissioner Eddy Shelton said that CEC would also pay for materials that were damaged by the leaking sewage.

The deal extends the contract until August of 2020 with the county receiving between $600,000 and $650,000 each year from the jail. CEC also agreed to increase the fee paid to commissioners if the company receives an increased per diem amount from the U.S. Marshals, which contracts with CEC at the facility.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Greg Simmons hopes that the company will get $4 or $5 more per day for each prisoner, which could create an increase of between $160,000 and $200,000 a year. Community Education Centers, Inc. has yet to sign the contract extension.

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