“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

Former guard at Jack Harwell pleads guilty to improper sexual relationship with inmate

A former guard at the Jack Harwell Detention Center, Melissa Corona, has pled guilty to charges of sexual misconduct with one of the inmates. Ms. Corona was indicted in March 2014, after allegations that she began a relationship with a male inmate in 2013 by kissing him more than 10 times.

Ms. Corona was the fifth person to be arrested in 2013 after an investigation into improprieties between staff and inmates. Three other female guards were arrested on charges of sexual misconduct, and a male guard was charged with bringing contraband into the facility.

The GEO Group acquires LCS Corrections, expanding their reach in Texas

The GEO Group is set to acquire a smaller corrections corporation, LCS Corrections. The merger could cost GEO up to $350 million dollars—borrowed from their $700 million revolving line of credit—and will add eight new facilities, and 6,500 new beds to GEO’s existing 79,000 bed capacity.

GEO is looking forward to an estimated $75-80 million extra in annual revenue. On LCS's end, the deal will bail them out of nearly $302 million in debt. The deal will reportedly be finalized by the end of this February. 

Former Texas private prison warden arrested in bribery scandal

The former warden of the privately operated East Hidalgo Detention Center, Elberto E. Bravo, was arrested last Friday in a complex bribery scandal. According to local reports, Bravo participated in a scheme to bribe former Hidalgo County Justice of the Peace Melo Ochoa to lower the bond for a Mexican drug trafficker, Luis Martinez-Gallegos . 

Private prison operator LCS Corrections removed Bravo from his post as warden in February 2012 amid a federal investigation, but it is unclear if it is related to this case. 

The complex case began when Martinez-Gallegos was stopped by Hidalgo County law enforcement officers and arrested for possession of 89 kilograms of cocaine in his vehicle. 

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Welcoming new Texas Prison Bidness blogger Holly Kirby

Holly Kirby
Holly Kirby
Texas Prison Bid'ness is happy to welcome new blogger Holly Kirby to our line-up. Holly is the Criminal Justice Organizer at Grassroots Leadership, one of the sponsors of Texas Prison Bid'ness.
Holly Kirby is a criminal justice organizer with Grassroots Leadership. Originally from Jacksonville, Arkansas, Holly graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2009 with a B.A. in Sociology and minor in Cultural Anthropology. In 2011, she moved to Austin to pursue a Masters of Science in Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. Through the school of social work, Holly landed an internship with Grassroots Leadership and was hired as a full-time organizer shortly after she graduated. As the coordinator of the Locked Up and #ShippedAway Campaign, she has authored two major reports examining the interstate transfer of state prisoners to private, for-profit prisons and supports state advocates to prevent and end this practice, fight for sustainable solutions to over-incarceration, and bring prisoners home.
Holly’s work and writing on this issue have been featured in Al Jazeera America, Salon.com, The Week, Business Insider, and Truthout.

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