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Jefferson County

Former juvenile facility may not be empty much longer

The Port Arthur News reports that the Jefferson County Commissioners Court approved a request for proposals to develop the Al Price State Juvenile Correctional Facility, which is currently vacant.

In December, Corrections Corporation of America (which has since rebranded itself as “CoreCivic”)  addressed the Jefferson County Commissioners Court during a workshop, and will submit a bid to turn the facility into a “secure” facility aimed at reducing recidivism in adults with substance abuse disorders. They were one of two groups who spoke to the court about potential use of the facility. Four to five groups are now interested in the property. All of the interested groups want to open substance abuse treatment rehabilitation facilities.

The facility was closed in 2011 and the county cited a reduced budget and a significantly lower youth population as key reasons to close the facility. A charter school from Dallas had leased the building but never paid for the utilities which led to the contract being canceled.

County Judge Jeff Branick said that any interested parties would first relieve the county of the burden of paying the utilities. The facility also needs maintenance work done, with the HVAC, lights, and alarms needing to be repaired. The judge said that the county will not help any bidders with upfront costs.

Supervisor at private jail convicted of supplying contraband to prisoner

 

KFDM 6 of Southeast Texas reports that a federal jury has found a Beaumont, Texas man guilty of giving a prisoner a prohibited item.

Donald Roy Kelly was also found guilty by the same jury of bribery of a public official on December 14. According to the information presented, Kelly was a shift supervisory corrections officer at the downtown Jefferson County Jail, which is operated by private prison company LaSalle Corrections.

Kelly was the supervisor in late 2014 and early 2015, when a high ranking leader of the Gulf Cartel was brought into the jail pending his trial for federal drug trafficking offenses. Kelly then approached them cartel member and offered a cell phone to the prisoner in exchange for money. He then engaged other individuals in helping him with the plan. The cell phone was purchased by another individual who then gave it to Kelly, who in turn gave it to the Gulf Cartel leader. Kelly also worked to bring fast food into the jail for the cartel leader, who had individuals attempt to transfer money into Kelly's accounts for his actions. Kelly now faces up to 15 years in a federal prison, with sentencing happening after a review by the U.S. Probation Office.

LaSalle Corrections is a private prison company that operates multiple for-profit prisons in the state of Texas. LaSalle has a history of failed inspections, inmate escapes, and sexual assault in the prisons they operate.

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GEO pulls out of Beaumont jail contract

The GEO Group has pulled out of a contract to operate a Beaumont jail, according to KBMT ("Downtown Beaumont Jail Shuts Doors, Temporarily," November 12)

The private company that operated a downtown Beaumont jail facility has ended it's contract with Jefferson County.
Officials say the facility has been temporarily closed.

The Geo Group announced the move on Monday, November 9, 2009 and county officials are now seeking bids for a replacement company. The jail has earned the county more than a million dollars a year in revenue, and sheriff Woods says there could be repercussions for a county contract to house Harris County inmates.

We'll keep you posted on developments. 

 

GEO Group pulls out of contract for Jefferson County lock-up, leaves County scrambling

The GEO Group has pulled out of a contract to operate the Jefferson County jail in Beaumont leaving the county in precarious position, according to an article yesterday in the Beaumont Enterprise ("County has 60 days to find firm to run jail," September 14):

Jefferson County has less than 60 days to find an operator for the jail at the courthouse in Beaumont if it wants to keep a contract to house Harris County prisoners.

The contract, signed last month, called for Jefferson County to house about 400 of Harris County's overflow inmates in the downtown Beaumont jail at the courthouse.

The jail operator, Geo Group Inc., was to charge Harris County $42.50 per inmate per day. Of that money, Jefferson County was to receive $9 for each inmate per day. The total contract was estimated to be worth $2.5 million.

Geo notified the county last week that in 60 days it will terminate its contract to run the jail.

We'll keep you posted on developments from Jefferson County.

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