“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

Mineral Wells Profile, Pt. 1

This is the first of a three-part report to Texas Prison Bid'ness based on research on the Mineral Wells Pre-Parole Transfer Facility conducted by Grassroots Leadership. The Mineral Wells facility is a contract-facility under the jurisdiction of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. For more information, please contact Nick Hudson using our contact form.

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Texas Senate Committee To Hold Private Prison Hearings on November 13

From the Texas Senate Commitee on Criminal Justice's website,

GEO Group Indicted for Murder in De La Rosa Case

The title says it all.  From the Associated Press ("Private Prison Company Indicted for Texas Murder," Houston Chronicle, October 24),

A private prison company based in Florida has been indicted in the death of a Texas prisoner just days before his release.

The indictment released Thursday alleges The GEO Group let other inmates fatally beat Gregorio de la Rosa Jr. with padlocks stuffed into socks.

He died four days before his scheduled release from a facility in Raymondville on the southern tip of Texas.

A jury ordered the company to pay de la Rosa's family $47.5 million in a 2006 civil judgment. He died in 2001.

Calls to The GEO Group and the Willacy County District Attorney's Office were not immediately returned Friday. The GEO Group was formerly known as Wackenhut Corrections Corp.

It's extremely rare that a private corporation is indicted for murder in the United States.  We'll keep you posted on this very important story as we hear more.   

Why Did TYC Spend $1.26 Million on Empty Private Prison Beds?

That's an excellent question asked in an article by Mike Ward in Saturday's Austin American Statesman (Lawmakers demand that TYC cancel contract that pays for empty beds," October 19).

As a new controversy exploded over the Texas Youth Commission spending more than $1.26 million to lease prison beds that remained empty for three months, key lawmakers demanded Friday that the contract be cancelled.

Although top Youth Commission officials stopped short of agreeing to do so, they vowed never again to use taxpayer money to pay startup costs for a vendor — as they did for Youth Services International, the Florida-based company that runs the lockup in Eagle Lake that is still mostly empty.

Youth Commission spokesman Jim Hurley said 18 youths were moved into the lockup Friday — far fewer than the 119 needed to cover the $22,500-a-day cost to taxpayers under the contract.

He also said that the agency would not provide startup costs in the future.

The controversy erupted after the American-Statesman disclosed details of the contract, which was set up for taxpayers to pay for empty beds for three months to cover the company's startup costs — something other state agencies prohibit.

The company, which operates programs for troubled youths in at least seven states, previously ran the lockup under a contract with the Youth Commission that ended about two years ago, a state report showed.

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