At Grassroots Leadership, we advocate and organize against private prison, detention centers and behavioral health treatment centers. Diverting those with mental health concerns from the criminal justice system into community treatment programs. Ultimately, those with mental health issues are not diverted but instead forced into a failed criminal and mental health system — especially in Houston, Texas. [node:read-more:link]
When we’re writing about prisoner transfer to privately operated facilities, we’re usually talking about state prisons. However, Harris County, TX made headlines this week with Sheriff Ron Hickman’s decision to move prisoners out of the county jail to the Jefferson County jail, run by for-profit private prison company LaSalle Corrections. Hickman cites overcrowding as rationale for outsourcing roughly 100 post-trial inmates from Houston to Beaumont.
The maneuver may have gone unnoticed had it not been for the public critique of Houston-area state senator John Whitmire who also chairs the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. In his letter to the Sheriff, Senator Whitmire takes issue with the decision both on the grounds that there are empty beds in Harris County jail facilities, and that local stakeholders were not given an opportunity to weigh in on the matter. Sound familiar?