Sunday, December 18, 2005

Problems with the Faith Based Prison Project

  1. Economic impact is overstated.
    1. Initial impact is unlikely to be as large as anticipated (see here and here).
    2. Long term impact is likely to be slower growth (see here).
  2. County must contract for prisoners (see here and here).
    1. Government agencies outside of Texas can't contract directly with a private prison in Texas.
    2. Any problem between these other government agencies and the facility will leave the county in the middle.
  3. County sheriff's department must inspect prison and ensure it meets standards (see here).
    1. The sheriff will need additional resources to inspect the prison if he is not to short other duties.
  4. County government will still be involved in the prison industry program (see here).
    1. The state has so far expressed no official interest in a program with no Texas prisoners.
    2. Even with the states involvement, the county will have supervisory responsibilities as they will be part of the contract.
  5. Lost tax revenues compared to other businesses because it will be not for profit.
    1. On a $30,000,000 facility, there is more than a $450,000 loss of school taxes.
    2. A state or federal prison will pay for this lost tax revenue with a direct payment in lieu of the lost taxes where a private, non-profit prison won't.
  6. Impact on the court system is largely ignored.
    1. Prisoners are notorious for filing lawsuits. It is unlikely that this Faith Based facility will be significantly different.
    2. How will the current system handle the increased case load and added security requirements.
  7. Impact on city facilities such as police and fire departments is ignored.
    1. What additional training will be required for our police officers and fire fighters?
    2. What provisions are being made for security during medical transport and emergencies. The proposed medical care will be at Community hospital, which will require transporting the prisoners clear across town, the shortest route being approximately 10 miles.
    3. Who will provide the guards for hospitalized prisoners? The facility? The sheriffs department? The police?
    4. Who will be providing EMS service to the facility? If our firefighters, what training will they be given on how to handle such an emergency?
  8. County government responsibilities and liabilities when the prison is operational is under estimated, if acknowledged at all (see here).
    1. It has been ignored that Texas Government Code requires the county to be prepared to purchase and operate the facility in the event of bankruptcy. Considering the fact that this is a new approach by an untried company, the likelihood of bankruptcy is high.

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