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Controversial MTC federal prison will not come to Nacogdoches

Opponents of a controversial MTC-proposed federal prison in Nacogdoches were celebrating last week after the Federal Bureau of Prisons pulled the plug on the project, according to Nacogdoches Daily Sentinal ("Federal government rejects plan for prison in Nacogdoches," May 1),

The proposed private federal prison — the subject of months of debate in Nacogdoches — will not be built here, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, said.

The federal government rejected a proposal by the private prison operator Management and Training Corporation to build the facility because it was not competitive enough, according to an April 28 letter from Amanda J. Pennel, a contracting officer with the bureau of prisons. "After evaluating this proposal in accordance with the terms of the solicitation, it was determined that this proposal was not among the most highly rated proposals," the letter said. "A proposal revision will not be considered," the letter continued.

While public offials were generally in favor of the proposed facility, a facility for immigrants to be deported following their sentences, community opposition to the facility was fierce and included an effort to bring the issue to a referendum vote by amending the city's charter and gathered over 2,700 signatures on their website, and impressive feat in a town of less than 30,000 total population.   

While the FBOP doesn't acknowledge the opposition in its reasoning, it's of no doubt in my mind that the community opposition was a factor in this decision.  Opposition makes these projects more expensive and therefore less competitive. Congrats to the Citizens Opposed to the Prison group!   

See our previous coverage of the private prison controversy in Nacogdoches:

Nacogdoches Prison Opposition to Petition to Change City Charter

In a story that could have broader implications about strategies of citizen groups to control the construction of prisons in their communities, a controversial proposed MTC federal prison may be challenged by a citizen petition effort, according to a story in the Daily Sentinal ("Group fighting private prison wants to amend city charter," January 19),

Around 40 people attended a Citizens Opposed to the Prison Site (COPS) meeting Monday, and the group's founder, Dr. Paul Risk, said the organization is moving forward with a petition that could change the city charter.

Risk introduced a petition that would put an amendment on the ballot in May that would require the city of Nacogdoches to provide for initiatives or referenda in its charter. Five percent of registered Nacogdoches voters, or about 850 people, would need to sign the petition requesting the amendment, Risk said. If approved, the citizens of Nacogdoches could vote down or uphold decisions made by the city commissioners.

See our previous coverage of the private prison controversy in Nacogdoches:


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