Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Privatized Liberty County jail going bust, enmeshed in scandal

After a drug smuggling Liberty County jailer pled guilty to federal charges last year and the jail had to release local criminals to make room for contract inmates from out of town, one would have thought things at the southeast Texas jail couldn't get much worse, but the bad news keeps rolling in. Here are the latest tales of small-town woe:
Liberty County's entire local economy is centered on incarceration, but the jail, which was full last year, has now lost most of its contract inmates in the wake of scandals and as of September 1st was just 39% occupied. But the empty jail hasn't just cost them contract income, they actually must pay the private prison contractor a 15% premium because the jail population fell below 150 inmates.

Add this episode to the growing body of evidence that the private prison bubble in Texas is bursting, and add Liberty County to the list of empty, speculative jails scattered across Texas. County commissioners commissioned a graduate student from Texas State to conduct "a deprivatization study ... on the feasibility of Liberty County possibly taking over control of the jail" to get out from under the onerous contract terms.


Anonymous said...

There is something evil about privatized imprisonment and trading stocks to spread the wealth in the land of the free.
Especially when they contract for 90% full at all times.

Prison Doc said...

I don't see that there is anything inherently immoral about private prisons. Mismanagement and fraud are other stories.

I do feel sorry for cash-strapped smaller counties who had prison deals foisted upon them by prison profiteers who conned commissioners with the idea that a private prison in their county was a veritable leprechaun's pot of gold.

A businessman once told me that to run for commissioner you had to have failed in business and failed in farming. Now I guess we can add "failed in private prison investing" to those resumes.

I would recommend voting against any commissioner who votes to build additional jail space--public or private.

rodsmith said...

i agree prison doc IF they can show that it can be done cheaper and still stay within the law. Go for it.

But a contract demand of 90% occupancy is criminal.

Since that guarantess more people will go to jail even as crime goes down.

LMAO said...

To Prison Doc:

You have me laughing my ass off at what you said about commissioners! But damn if it isn't the truth.

Ironically, our institutions of higher learning say that local government contains the most corruption? Not sure if I buy into that because I just never relly hear anyone being called onto the carpet at local level of government. I would think that there is ample opportunity for prison industry to play grab ass with commissioners.

Anonymous said...

Prison Doc:

Please understand that some of the big players in the private prison industry actually hire lobbyists to promote more laws and tougher, longer sentences.

In addition, I have personally heard gleeful remarks made by private prison marketing personnel when the economy has tanked because it means more people will commit property crimes and it is "good for business".

These are strong indications that their efforts are not for the greater good of society, but for their own business interests.

Is that inherently immoral? I think so.

Anonymous said...

I thought the real problem was sexual assault of a female inmate by a male employee who should have prevented things like this. Why is it when we have women in a prison, the employees view them as free game to do what ever they want. I know several women in the prisons in Gatesville, and they all say "they can do what ever they want to, with or to us, and nobody will stop it". I never understand why our law makers are not charged like any other citizen in Texas under the law of party code. They help create the climate that led up to this whole mess.

Anonymous said...

Is the Liberty County Jail a speculative jail when you consider.......

•The Liberty County Jail consists of two buildings: the new jail and the old jail.
•The old jail was built in 1957 and remodeled in 1985.
•The new jail was built in 1992, in two phases.

Anonymous said...

Not saying things can't go awry with county employees at th helm, but Texans demand that public employees pension plans, in this case TCDRS, be done away with, contribution and match rates reduced, expect an exodus of quality employees thus leaving more counties to contract the county jails to a private vendor.

You asked for it, now you got it.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

6:04, regardless of when it was built, it becomes "speculative" when they enter into a contract that requires them to keep it full of out of county prisoners or pay a private contractor if they don't.

Cache County Jail said...

For those of you who have never been arrested and booked into a jail, it is nearly impossible to fully understand the trauma that an inmate has to deal with.

Cache County Jail