Tuesday, July 23, 2013

ICE giveth and ICE taketh away: County jails built on spec at mercy of feds

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency pulled its detainees out one Texas jail and bailed another one out. The blog Texas Prison Bidness brings word that ICE has sent 200 detainees to the vacant wing of the McLennan County Jail operated by LaSalle Corrections (see more on them). The facility, built on spec to house contract prisoners, holds 816 inmates total so at 200 they're about a quarter full. Still, at least it's generating some revenue.

By contrast, ICE giveth and in Limestone County, ICE taketh away. Reported KWTX TV (July 22):
Management Training Corporation, the Utah-based company with which Limestone County contracted to operate the now empty 1,000-bed county owned Limestone County Detention Center, said Monday its contract with the county is still in effect, contradicting what a spokesman said last week.
MTC, which under an agreement with the county is supposed to pay a minimum of $62,500 a month to rent the complex, said on July 15 it was closing the center, laying off 130 employees, pulling out, and discontinuing its contract.

But in an e-mail Monday, Issa Arnita, the company’s director of corporate communications, said the contract remains in place.

“We’re working together (with the county) to look at other options to market the facility for other customers as soon as possible,” the e-mal said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement decided to stop sending suspected illegal immigrants detained at the border to the center, opting instead to return them to their home countries, Limestone County Judge Daniel Burkeen said.

As a result, the last prisoners were removed on July 12 from the privately-run detention center and on July 16, the center’s 130 employees picked up what they were told were their final paychecks.

The loss of the jobs is a financial blow to the county and the loss of the payments from MTC, which accounted for about 5 percent of the county’s annual revenue, could impact the new budget officials are now drafting, Burkeen said earlier.
As it turns out, those ICE detainees weren't being returned "to their home countries" but rather shipped to Waco, where LaSalle Corrections makes a tidy profit on them. Reported the Waco Tribune-Herald (July 20), "The county pays LaSalle $45.50 per day to house each inmate. ICE will pay the county $55.50 per day for each of its inmates brought to the facility."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You gotta know who all the players are at McClennan County now to understand how this deal got made.

There's a new sheriff in town.