The detention center is run by the Management and Training Corporation, which operates ten other facilities around the state, employed 373 workers at the site, about half of whom live in the Raymondville and Willacy County areas while the rest live across the Rio Grande Valley." Those folks are now looking for work. According to the McAllen Monitor, "The prison pays [Willacy County] for every inmate it holds, pumping more than $2.7 million into county coffers last year." In addition, "In Raymondville, City Manager Eleazar Garcia said the prison’s closure could mean the loss of about $50,000 a month in water sales in the city whose annual budget projected about $3.6 million in water revenue." Observed the SA Express News:
The Willacy County economy is deeply dependent on the prison industry, floating tens of millions of dollars in bonds through a “Public Facilities Corp.” to build the Correctional Center. The county also has a 500-bed detention center operated by MTC under a U.S. Marshals contract, and a 1,000-bed state jail, operated by Corrections Corp. of America.Further, "The county owes about $63 million on the prison that opened in 2006," according to the county auditor, but the commissioners court claims "bond holders would assume any risk." That's a bit of fanciful thinking of which I'm sure the good folks in McLennan County could dissuade them, if anyone has ears to listen. Or, maybe they'll listen to S&P, which just downgraded the county's bond rating because of episode.
Each of the more than 2,800 prisoners in the Willacy correctional facility puts $2.50 per day in county coffers, adding up to about a quarter of its yearly budget of $8.1 million. It’s unclear who will be ultimately responsible for repairs to the building or how soon prisoners will return, if at all, leading some officials to worry the county could soon be faced with a budget shortfall.
As an aside, there may be other jurisdictions salivating to house these prisoners and take advantage of MTC's woes, but be forewarned. The feds (ICE) have already begun assenting to bail in immigration cases for the first time in recent memory, perhaps in part in response to bed shortages in the system from the Willacy riot but more probably in reaction to a recent federal judge's ruling, still under review by the agency, ordering ICE to "stop denying bond to Central American families solely to deter more immigration." So the feds may yet figure out how how to absorb this group without doling out new contracts to other vendors.