“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

Debate over prison privatization hits San Antonio court room

The national debate over private prisons may soon heat up a San Antonio court room sometime soon, according to a WOIA from this morning:
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GEO supervisor in Del Rio indicted on sexual assault charges

Protestor at Val Verde County Correctional Center
Protestor at Val Verde County Correctional Center
A GEO Group supervisor has been charged with sexual assault of a detainee in the company's Val Verde Correctional Center in Del Rio, according to a report in the San Antonio Express-News ("Supervisor at detention facility indicted," October 15) last week:
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Correct Care Recovery Solutions to run lockdown facility in Littlefield

Bill Clayton Detention Center
Bill Clayton Detention Center

As part of a series of changes to the civil commitment program in Texas, Littlefield will serve as the new home for nearly 200 individuals convicted of a sexual offense who have served their time, but who have been indefinitely civilly committed. Although federally required to be a treatment program, not a punitive one, a company with roots in the private prison industry will operate the facility. Correct Care Recovery Solutions (CCRS), formerly known as GEO Care, is a spin-off corporation of GEO Group, the same corporation that operated the facility until 2009. This contract seems a consolation prize for CCRS, who lost the bid to take over Terrell State Hospital earlier this year.

 

 

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Private prison bust hurts Texas communities, but leaves private prison corps unscathed

Two stories about the economics of for-profit prisons in Texas have caught our attention this month.  Both talk about a recent spate of communities in Texas defaulting on bonds that were issued to pay for private, for-profit prisons intended to detain or incarcerate immigrants.  

The basics of the stories - one by Bloomberg's Lauren Etter ("Border jails facing bond default as immigration boon goes bust," August 2) and the other by the San Antonio Express-News John MacCormack ("Prison bust spreads across rural Texas," August 22) - cover the boom in private prisons financed by local Texas communities on the promise that federal contracts would come rolling in.

Bloomberg's Etter summarizes the issue:

"In Texas, the heart of a jail-building boom over the past decade, nine of 21 counties that created agencies to issue about $1.3 billion in municipal bonds to build privately run correctional facilities largely for migrants have defaulted on their debt. A dozen other facilities from Florida to Louisiana to Arizona, many that housed immigrants, have also defaulted, according to figures from Municipal Market Analytics, a bond-research firm based in Concord, Massachusetts."

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