Sunday, November 4, 2007

Williamson Co. commissioners continue CCA contract

Last Tuesday, the Williamson County commissioners voted unanimously to continue the county's contract with the Corrections Corporation of America, the country's largest for-profit corrections company. After listening to speakers voice their opinion- including 9 speakers against continuing the contract and only one- the warden of T Don Hutto- speak in favor of its continuation, commissioners adjourned and, within minutes, voted unanimously.

At the last assembly the commission held on the subject, CCA shipped in bus loads of its own employees and their children to speak for continuing the contract to save their jobs. Apparently deciding such tactics were too overt (and downright tacky), they scaled back this time. However, whatever closed-door dealings have gone down in the meantime have proven more effective.

Taylor Daily Press reports:

As part of the new contract, CCA offered incentives to remain in the contract including a “no-limit” indemnity provision to the county in which CCA will assume all legal responsibilities and provide legal counsel for the county should a lawsuit arise.

CCA also offered a $250,000 letter of credit to cover legal expenses should the county lose or settle a lawsuit. At $5,000 per month, CCA will also pay for a county employ to act as a liaison between the county, CCA and the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and give the county more oversight at the facility.

KXAN quotes commissioner Dan Gattis giving his validation on the county's vote:

"We feel like this is a better clause that gives us more protection from that standpoint and the amendment gives us the opportunity to have somebody on site that can help us understand the day-to-day operations,"

Still, nothing was said to concretely reassure that conditions for those held inside was on anybody's mind, nor that they would be improved from any of this.

(photo by Leah Fillion of the Taylor Daily Press)