Sunday, June 09, 2013

TDCJ board will decide this summer which two prison units to close

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram today has a story ("Mineral Wells vows to fight devastating closure of prison") about local private-prison backers in Mineral Wells fighting to keep open a prison unit the state doesn't need, touting its pork-barrel benefits creating (mostly low paying) jobs for locals. The article opened:
The uncertainty is troubling many in Mineral Wells.

The question that continues to linger is whether the Mineral Wells Pre-Parole Transfer Facility — a 2,100-bed, privately run minimum-security prison — will close.

State lawmakers last month passed a budget that reduces jail bed capacity by $97.3 million, which is exactly the amount that would be saved if both the Mineral Wells facility and the Dawson State Jail in Dallas were shuttered.

But the budget, which still must be approved by the state comptroller and Gov. Rick Perry, no longer specifically names the Mineral Wells facility as one that must close, due to legislative maneuvering by state Reps. Phil King, R-Weatherford, and Jim Keffer, R-Eastland.

Instead, it calls on prison officials, rather than lawmakers, to decide which prisons to shutter and to base that decision on economic factors.

“It’s not over yet,” King said. “But it’s still an uphill fight.”

Mineral Wells officials say closing the prison — one of the largest employers in the community of around 17,000 — would devastate the small city, putting more than 200 people out of work and drying up the flow of millions of dollars each year from the Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America.

“We’re going to fight this to the bitter end,” Mineral Wells Mayor Mike Allen said. “We will fully support CCA and do our best to keep it here.”
Since the contract for the Mineral Wells unit ends on Aug. 31, TDCJ must decide this summer whether to renew it or let it expire, which is what Senator John Whitmire wants. The Dawson State Jail is the other prime target for closure but the final say is up to TDCJ's board. That group has two meetings between now and the expiration of the Mineral Wells contract - on June 21 and Aug. 23. At one of those two gatherings they'll have to pull the trigger and decide which two units to close. The easiest thing for the agency would be to follow Sen. Whitmire's lead and close Dawson and Mineral Wells, but you never know.

15 comments:

sunray's wench said...

It sounds to me like the good people of Mineral Wells want more crime to increase the numbers of inmates so that they can keep their prison open, rather than less crime and less inmates and no prison.

Guess which one is better for the economy overall.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me no one has to make a decision or vote. Just let the contract end.

Brian McGiverin said...

So how is this different from talking about closing a Walmart? The Mineral Wells facility serves the same role (crappy, low paying jobs) and actually does a greater disservice to society.

Ryan Paige said...

I don't know, I keep hearing from my elected officials that the government can't create jobs.

So clearly closing the prison would not affect the job situation there at all.

Anonymous said...

So the waiting game continues for the employees who continue to work at both facilities...

sunray's wench said...

Anon 3.29 ~ nothing to stop them looking for jobs elsewhere. Why wait til the last minute if you have a family to support? No one has a right to work where they live, so it could be that people have to relocate to find work. You know, like our grandparents did.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the world as the rest of us in private and other state agencies became familiar with mire than five years ago.

Prison Gaurds would make excellent tow truck drivers . . . Little more work and you have to maintain some level of respect with those you do business with (or impose your devices on, circling apartments, condos, and retail establishments to find an overdue registration or registration).

BOTTOM LINE: Ya can continue the bully practices introduced in grade school, only now, you call the shots.


Anonymous said...

Please forgive the bottom line and Para 2 should read "registration or inspection".

Anonymous said...

I am unsure if is apparent to most, but offenders are not the only pool of people stagnating. The entire system is stagnating. I realize that TDCJ staff is asked to perform do twice the work for have as much, the agency is way underfunded for the programs they are expected to provide -- I get it. This blog, Johnny Appleseed's Schools to Prisons Pipeline research and analysis, and the work of all of those at TCJC and the Sunset Review Commission is commendable. But really, why oh why must we continue down the same underfunded path? What we are doing d o e s n o t w o r k.

There have been great ideas – given the funding, they were impossible to properly launch and much less to sustain – so there are many stains. I don't care. None of that worked. Separating people from community does not help them get better in it. It isolates them or worse, it ostracizes them and it makes them worse. We must stop treating children like criminals. Then we must stop treating criminals like children.

INTEGRATED COMMUNITY PLANNING

How do you really punish a child who doesn’t want to be learning? Much of the time, once a disobedient child reaches a certain threshold of misbehaving, the school will send him or her home. Or they really just got a free pass to not be in class. Why? because adults didn’t want to deal with the child. The real punishment would have been to make the child teach the class. Raise the engagement don’t lower the engagement.

I challenge more TDCJ staff to do like private sector participants and work overtime on this problem. Get sucked in.
Be obsessed until you figure this thing out. Partner with other entities, the model for PARTNERSHIPS is Bexar County. The rest of Texas cannot simply copy the Bexar model – those ideas happened years ago – but the fundraising capabilities are there throughout Texas. With gaming and virtualization capapbilities, the opportunities should be endless.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget one of the kid's prison will have to close also.

The Old Kol Preacher said...

Here is a Ayn Rand statement, "existence exists" Mineral Wells can not ask the people of the State of Texas to exist so she can exist.

Anonymous said...

You obviously have never been in a job loss situation. Not everyone working in a prison is a prison guard. It is not right to string along loyal employees. They just need to come out and give the news already.

sunray's wench said...

Anon 4.14 ~ on the contrary, I've been made redundent twice in the past 10 years and am currently seeing my present employer downsizing and out-sourcing staff. Why let that rule your life? Take charge of your own destiny and start applying for positions elsewhere.

And I absolutely agree with Anon 6.52.

Smitherines said...

Visitors and inmates at the small-town San Saba unit r being told that their male offender population will be shipped out in the weeks to come and replaced by females. Any truth to this? And if so, how will that play in to the structure/closures? Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

Both Dawson and Mineral wells are closing.announced today.
http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/2013/06/texas-department-of-criminal-justice-says-dawson-state-jail-on-the-shores-of-the-trinity-river-will-close-august-31.html/