Sunday, February 19, 2006

Prison Liability

Experience teaches us that roughly 80% of business start-ups never see their fifth anniversary. Many and sundry are the incidental and unforseeable traps that can lead astray the best laid plans of mice or men.
The most recent presentation of a contract proposed by CCI was put on hold due to questions concerning the County's potential financial liability. I think this line of inquiry is on the right track, the taxpayers deserve protection from being on the hook for unintended consequences of operating a large prison unit.
I have yet to see a direct answer to what I believe to be the core question here. If we go with this prison, and a few years down the road we actually have say, 450 inmates from several states, CCI as a corporate entity goes bankrupt, to whom does the responsibility of operating this prison devolve?
I don't mean in the long term after a process of civil suits results in a judicial determination, I mean, the morning after, who is responsible for feeding the inmates breakfast and assuring the guards and staff their paychecks will not bounce? No spin, no tap-dancing, CCI has no assets, and we have a few hundred hungry inmates. I'm pretty sure we are not allowed to just turn them loose, and I don't think we can just lock the doors and let them eat one another until the last one starves to death.
The only track record Mr. Robinson can present is one of operating a program in the existing infrastructure of Red River County Texas a decade ago, a program that was terminated for whatever reason in one year. We are looking at signing off on a contract for a much larger program involving construction and hiring and operational phases CCI has never attempted.
Granting the best of intentions on the CCI side, should their corporate effort fail financially, every indication we have is that the taxpayers of Tom Green County will bear the responsibility of operating a large and expensive prison. If I am mistaken on this point, we deserve an explanation of exactly what does happen in that unhappy event.

1 comment:

  1. There will be discussion about this topic at the city council meeting on Tuesday, Feb 21 which starts at 10 am at the convention center. This issue will be toward the end of the meeting.

    This should be an interesting meeting. Asu will also be introducing a new proposal on closing part Rosemont and there is still opposition from some of the neighbors. Should be an interesting show.