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North Texas jail privatization debate moves to Kaufman County

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Last week, Ellis Count

y rejected privatization of its jail after opposition from community members and County Sheriff Johnny Brown.  Now, the debate appears to have shifted one county over to Kaufman County where officials are reportedly entertaining offers from the same two private companies - Community Education Centers and LaSalle/Southwestern Corrections - along with a third company, Emerald Corrections to take over that community's 530 bed jail.  

According to the Kaufman Herald ("Privatization plan draws opposition," August 14th), the privatization plan is running into opposition from jail employees and community members:

"Kaufman County commissioners got an earful Monday morning as employees of the Kaufman County Law Enforcement Center took the opportunity to voice their opposition to possible privatization of the facility. Commissioners had approved a request for bids earlier this year, and now removed a requirement that potential operators retain the current staff, salaries and benefits for at least the first year of private operation.

“Our number one concern is the safety and security of taxpayers and other residents of kaufman county,” said David Smith, a detention officer. “By definition, a private company taking over the jail, their number one priority would be to maximize their profit margins.”

 

We'll keep you posted on developments from Kaufman County as this debate moves ahead.