UPDATE: There will be a public forum at McAllen City Hall on WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 11th at 5:30 PM for the residents of McAllen, TX to voice their views on the construction of a new private prison! Click here to see details, sign the petition, and find out what you can do to make your voice heard.
This week, we learned that McAllen, TX has been keeping a dirty secret. Located at the southern tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, the city plans to publish a formal request for qualifications this week from private prison operators willing to build a new 1,000-bed lock-up. The new prison would house federal prisoners for the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) under an existing agreement with the city.
McAllen police Chief Victor Rodriguez said, “There’s a great need to have their prisoners held in a facility that’s local.” Currently, the federal government pays McAllen $52 a day per prisoner housed at the Public Safety Building, located blocks from the courthouse, but only capable of housing 30 prisoners. USMS transports prisoners from private prisons in Laredo and La Villa to McAllen for court hearings, described as the cause of “logistical headaches” for the Marshals Service. Under the new deal, the private prison operator would pay the city of McAllen to house prisoners, but that amount is still being negotiated. The location of the new prison is also yet to be determined.
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