“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

Private prison is up for sale

Reeves County is thinking of selling their detention center, News West 9 reports.

 

Reeves County announced at the end of May that they would be permanently shutting down two corrections units as a part of the the Reeves County Detention Center complex operated by private prison corporation GEO Group, following the loss of a contract with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The county was negotiating with the BOP to keep a third unit open for another year as they transfer prisoners to other facilities. The negotiations were unsuccessful for the county however, and now the third unit will be closed.

 

County officials are now looking at all available options for the facility, including selling it. The county has received two bids for the facility so far. One was under the estimated price of the facility, and commissioners stated the other was more of a lay away plan. Neither bid was accepted, and the county is now getting an appraisal of the facility before it opening it up to other bids.

 

If Reeves County is looking to profit from their detention centers, they may think again. The closing of the Bartlett State Jail has potential to save the city thousands of dollars a year, while the city of Eden is looking to diversify their economy following the closing of their private prison. Reeves County would do well to invest in long-term solutions, and not prisons that can close at the drop of a hat.

One private prison company replaces another

One private prison company is taking a contract away from their competition, reports the Longview News-Journal.

 

Management and Training Corporation (MTC) is a Utah-based private prison company that recently was contracted to CoreCivic, another for-profit prison company. CoreCivic had operated the Bradshaw State Jail for 13 years, but recently lost their bid to renew the contract for the facility. Due to the failed contract renewal, over 500 workers from three different detention centers in Texas will be laid off.

 

MTC, which operates the East Texas Treatment Facility near the Bradshaw State Jail, will take over operations of Bradshaw starting on September 1. The company plans on hiring the majority of the employees from the Bradshaw State Jail that will be laid off by CoreCivic following their failed bid.

Reeves County is in negotiations to keep a private prison open

Reeves County is negotiating with the Bureau of Prisons to how they can keep one unit of the Reeves County Detention Center open, reports CBS 7.

 Last week, Reeves County announced the closing of two units of the Reeves County Detention Center. The closures follow the loss of a contract the county had with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to detain prisoners. The contract instead went to the GEO Group's Big Spring unit.

 County officials, including the county judge, commissioners, attorneys, and even financial advisors, are working to keep the last remaining unit open. Commissioners voted on Monday to move forward with using the GEO Group to help the county negotiate a bridge contract with the BOP. This would allow the facility to remain open for one year as prisoners are transferred to other facilities.

 Commissioner Paul Hinojos said the county could sell the facility if the bridge contract is not agreed upon. Another option would be to transfer prisoners from other states and government agencies. Hinojos hopes to keep the facility open for another year, afterwhich they will bid on other contracts to fill R1 and R2 (the two closing units).

 

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Another death in ICE custody

A Salvadoran immigrant died while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, reports the Huffington Post.

Carlos Mejía Bonilla of El Salvador was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on April 1. He was taken to Jersey City Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit for gastrointestinal bleeding on June 8. He died two days later, according to a statement from ICE.

 Carlos was the tenth person to die in ICE custody this fiscal year, which began on October 1. Two of those deaths were suicides. Another woman, detained in a family detention center, attempted suicide in hopes that it would allow her family, who was detained with her, to go free.

 Though the number of deaths this fiscal year is already equal to 2016, and the most since 2011, the federal government is looking to increase the number of beds in private facilities used to detain immigrants. Another report shows that the number of deaths in ICE custody is on pace to double from 2016.

 These deaths highlight the horrible conditions and treatment of people in private prisons, and shows why they must be shut down.

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