Welcome to The Hump Day Hall of Shame: Every Wednesday we highlight the private prison industry’s influence on public policy through campaign contributions, lobbying, and the revolving door of public and private corrections.
Community Education Centers (CEC) is a pretty creepy for-profit private prison corporation. They recently made New York Times headlines for their mismanagement of New Jersey half-way houses and their ties to Governor Chris Christie, and have a well-documented history across the United States for egregious problems that have arisen in facilities that they run.
Beyond what actually happens in these facilities, it’s pretty creepy understanding the framework that private, for-proft prison companies employ in their business practices. For CEC and the private for-profit prison business, incarcerated people are dollars signs before they are human beings. And, reducing the number of people in prison is bad for their business.
This fact becomes crystal clear in a new study conducted by Texas A&M researcher Lynn Greenwood on Liberty County Jail in Texas, a facility that is currently operated by CEC and has been managed privately for over 20 years. Liberty County has successfully found cost-effective mechanisms to reduce its jail population. However, the study sheds light on the fact that CEC has increased its “per person per day” fee, charged to the county, by approximately $30 more than what the research deems appropriate when compared to 17 other Texas county jails, as the population of Liberty County Jail has decreased.
The good news is that local elected officials are compelled by the research and have begun talking about the need to take the jail back to local management and to reduce the taxpayer burden.
During the October 24th meeting on the results of the study, District Judge Chap Cain commented, “My observations are that we are being way overcharged…I can save taxpayers between one to two million dollars. It’s that simple. It’s time to take the jail back. We can operate it. We’ve got the skills. We can make things better. It’s time we took control.”