In the wake of the Texas Youth Commission's decision to vacate its contract with the Geo Group private prison company to operate a facility in Coke County, Chairman John Whitmire has vowed to examine Geo's entire Texas portfolio - in both adult and juvenile settings - as well as other private prison firms to judge by the committee's hearing charge:
The Senate Criminal Justice Committee will meet to discuss the oversight of private correctional facilities in the State of Texas. The committee will hear invited and public testimony.I'd like to see the committee invite some of the state's experts on private prisons to speak - perhaps Michelle Deitch (also a Blue Ribbon Panel member) and Bob Libal (a knowledgeable writer and long-time activist who blogs at Texas Prison Bidness). I'm not sure what's the precise purpose of this hearing since Ms. Pope has already closed the Coke County facility, but it should be an engaging political spectacle, in any event.
Related coverage from Grits:
- Meet the Geo Group: Texas' largest private prison contractor
- Scandals involving Idaho inmates in Texas Geo prisons
- Suicide aftermath reveals squalor at private rural Texas prison
- Mother of deceased inmate sues over Texas Geo unit conditions
- AG should investigate possible Geo Group fraud
- TYC closing Coke County private prison unit
- More on TYC ending Geo youth prison contract
UPDATE: See also the Dallas News, "Jail operator Geo's trouble's not limited to Coke County youth lockup."