Sexual assaults in the Fannin County Jail have spawned a lawsuit by two women against the county, private prison corporation Community Education Centers (CEC), and individual officials at the facility.
The lawsuit alleges CEC, the county and facility officials are liable for assaults committed by former Fannin County Sheriff's deputy William Clifford Isaacs. Issacs sexually assualted at least four women who were being transferred from the Fannin County Jail. The jail is operated by the private prison corporation Community Education Centers. Isaacs was convicted for the sexual assaults of four federal felonies and is awaiting sentencing. The suit alleges that:
"In addition to those reasons stated above, Defendant CEC negligently failed to protect [her], and other female inmates, from the unwanted assault by Defendant Isaacs despite the knowledge of previous sexual assaults by guards on inmates and common national jail standards of requiring at least two officers during any transport of inmates for officer safety. Additionally, CEC’s policies in the Fannin County Jail allow female inmates to be exclusively supervised by male guards, having had only one female guard on staff at a given time, if any."
Texas Prison Bid'ness has acquired a copy the lawsuit which details the allegations against CEC, Fannin County, and officials at the facility. The plaintiffs are represented by Don Tittle Law in Dallas. We will keep you posted on developments in this suit.
After the Grayson County commissioners decided earlier this month to not construct a private jail in Sherman, they are staying true to this commitment. However, in Monday's commissioner meeting it was decided that some of their inmates might be housed in a private facility after all -- just not in Grayson County. The commissioners signed a deal with their neighbor to the East, Fannin County, to house some of their overflow inmates in order to give the commissioners more time to make a decision on how best to solve their jail problems in Sherman. The inmates would be sent to CEC's 432-bed Fannin County Detention Center in Bonham, TX.
"We have always maintained a good working relationship with Fannin county and this has been in the works for a few months" said Judge Drue Bynum.
Bynum says [Monday's] agreement allows the county to house prisoners closer to home, instead of in McClellan or Limestone county jails and that it could also save Grayson County money.
"The contract was signed for 48 dollars a day, that includes transportation so depending on who you talk to around here that is cheaper than we can do it,” said Bynum.
Fannin County Sheriff Kenneth Moore says his jail has the space, but doesn't need the extra income to operate.
"It was in the back of our minds, but we didn't build this facility to depend on another county," said Moore.
The Jail in Fannin County is operated by a private company, Community education centers, or CEC. Sheriff Moore says he is glad to offer any help he can to Grayson County.
"They have helped us on many occasions, they have never failed to offer assistance in any situation," said Sheriff Moore.
While the future of the Grayson County jail is still not set in stone, housing some prisoners in Fannin County will give Grayson County more options and that means more breathing room to make a final decision ("Grayson and Fannin Counties enter jail agreement," KXII, 29 March 2010).
While Judge Bynum says the contract is for "48 dollars a day," I am assuming he means "48 dollars per day, per inmate." Any further details of the plan have not been released, such as the duration of these inmates stay in Fannin County. Judge Bynum did mention, however, that Grayson County sends 5 to 10 inmates to other counties already. Check back here regularly as this development pans out. In the meantime, below are some links to the background of the Grayson County debate and CEC.
- Sherman's Fight Against Proposed Private Prison
- Grayson County's Decision to Privatize Goes to Public Vote
- Grayson County Jail Bond Election Canceled; Privatization Proposal May be Dead
- Grayson County Debate Finds an Answer
- Family sues CEC over son's death in Texarkana jail
- Will McLennan County Sheriff continue to receive pass-through payments from CEC?
- Breakout at CEC's Kinney County Detention Center