“It’s a business,” he says. “And we’re gonna take all the advantage we can to bring in more business if possible. . . That means more inmates.” ~ Joe Alexandre, mayoral candidate, Raymondville TX
I don’t know Joe Alexandre, haven’t seen a picture of him, just heard his voice this morning on NPR. He’s running for mayor of Raymondville, Texas and I’d vote for him in a heartbeat because he’s an honest man . . . I know he’s honest because only an honest man would utter the words above.
He’s commenting on the fact that the town and county’s number one business/tax-payer/employer closed rather abruptly last month when the for profit Willacy County Correctional Center shut down after the 2800 inmates there went wild and basically tore it apart. They were somewhat unhappy with the conditions.
Now the county’s getting an insurance settlement to fix the (extensive) damage and rebuild the prison. Both the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the private operator, Management & Training Corporation (MTC), have bolted, leaving the county with a very large, very ruined, very empty prison. Absent Rick and company seeking another prison refuge in the coastal Texas area, the only other use for the prison is to, well, be a prison. Hence the need for inmates.
A need Alexandre is upfront and honest about. Unlike the spokesperson for MTC – “MTC is now the third largest operator of adult correctional facilities in the nation . . . Our reputation is that of rehabilitation, second only to security.”
That’s pretty much like The Gatling Gun Corporation saying, “Peace is our goal, second only to mowing down rows of advancing infantry.”
Perhaps Willacy County will start running ads in prison newsletters throughout the country -“Come to Willacy, we learned from the riot!” They’ll offer perks, full packages of stuff other prisons skimp on – like free toothpaste, edible food, and, dare I say it, real classes.
What if they start stealing inmates away from other prison systems? Starting a run on inmate recruitment? This could end up like NCAA Division 1 basketball and football recruiting, private prisons attending preliminary court hearings to get in on the ground floor on the most eligible inmates.
Wow, the whole system would change . . . except for the whole couple of million people behind bars thing, but hey, people and towns got to make a living. Right?