Saturday, March 17, 2012

Administrator's $385K jail budget goof to air Tuesday in McLennan Commissioners Court session

Prisoner population 'above expectation'

Waco – According to Budget Director Adam Harry, prisoner population increases unforeseen at the time this fiscal year's budget was prepared are forcing a $385,020 amendment for outside prisoner housing.

A document included in the bookmarked agenda shows a decrease of that amount from the “contingencies” fund to cover the increased expense, and an increase to the outside prisoner fund in the same amount.
(click here for report)

“Prisoner population has increased above expectation at the time the budget was prepared,” Mr. Harry reported.

There is no further explanation or discussion of the matter other than a spreadsheet that shows the monthly amounts involved in the budget item amendment to be discussed. (click here)

The public learned of the problem when a concerned citizen addressed the Commissioners Court.

Feeling Overmatched?


  1. And how much County budget has Plemons spent shuffling his county inmates over to JHDC so JHDC can make their daily inmate quota, then back again where they actually belong?? Who pays for all that County transferring & transporting, just to save the PRIVATE JAIL from going in the hole on a daily basis??

  2. No matter how the funds are allocated or spent, it all boils down to the same ministerial duty prescribed by constitution and statute, Mr. Ward. The County Sheriff is responsible to house and care for all who are detained while awaiting the disposition of law, be it pre-trial, post conviction, or otherwise. An individual so charged by law with that duty may contract with a private corporation to perform some part of or all of that ministerial duty, but the duty must be performed on behalf of the People of the State of Texas, in a manner that is acceptable. That ultimate responsibility resides in the Office of the County Sheriff, an office represented by an actual human being and not a corporate entity masquerading as one from behind a corporate veil.

    At this point, it is up to those same people to make a decision if they would prefer to continue with this method of operations - that is, to pay a private corporation to perform the duties for which the Sheriff is individually charged, or to simply allow the officials whose duties are ancillary to those of the Sheriff to do all they can to make sure the Sheriff is able to get the job done in a legally acceptable manner without the ministrations of a for-profit corporation and the financiers who have created through further corporate manipulation the need for the services of any such corporate entity.

    One is reminded of the sworn testimony of a Texas Ranger who was once asked under oath to define the term status quo. He said it is Latin for "the mess we done got ourselves into now."

    As to saving "the PRIVATE JAIL from going in the hole on a daily basis," it appears there is no such help for an organization that has found it necessary to close a 319-bed jail and to seek the transfer of something like 200 prisoners from the lockup operated by the Sheriff's Department to the Jack Harwell Detention Center in an effort to obtain enough funds to pay the debt service on the public service project created by the political subdivision of the State of Texas, the Public Service Corporation of McLennan County.

    That's not a hole, Mr. Ward. That is a quagmire of quick sand designed for the profit and benefit of an intevenor, a private corporation chartered in a foreign jurisdiction, a third party involved in a ministerial relationship between a constitutional officer of a local government, a political subdivision of the State of Texas, and the People of the State of Texas.

    Such a deal, as they say on Seventh Avenue.

    Selah. Yea, how we wept by the waters of Babylon

    Though the aggravation may be incalculable, there is one remedy available for the satisfaction of those same People of the State of Texas, and that relief may be obtained at the ballot box in primary, runoff and general elections held under the authority of the People of the State of Texas, if and when the federal government allows them to take place under the terms and conditions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    If that remedy does not work to alleviate such sorry conditions, then there is the very real remedy afforded by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    May we, the people, live in interesting times.

    God save the United States of America, her people, and the State of Texas.

    - The Legendary,
    a misunderstood, often misquoted and struggling scribe residing in Grub Street.

  3. On a personal level, there is one clue that stands out among all the rest. That is to make dead sure to minimize the possibility that one might come under the custodial authority of this curious system. To allow such a tragic circumstance is to sell oneself into bondage in order to satisfy the demands of a corporation hell bent on turning human misery into a growth industry financed by tax free municipal revenue bonds.

    Cui bono? Certainly, the People of the State of Texas derive no benefit; neither do those who find themselves thus enslaved in her custodial detention. That kind of leaves the ball in the court of the coupon clippers. - The Legendary

  4. "Certainly, the People of the State of Texas derive no benefit; neither do those who find themselves thus enslaved in her custodial detention. That kind of leaves the ball in the court of the coupon clippers. - The Legendary"
    I was talking to a contact in Austin and this is the first thing that came up. Increased incarceration rates. A different contact there explained the incentive to opt out of the lucrative probation system and do the time to resolve a DWI.
    When Larry Lynch took over, the downtown jail was providing almost a million dollars a year to the county coffers. Today we are going to spend almost 2.75 million on housing prisoners while a county jail that never failed and inspection sits empty. Taxpayers should be asking how in the hell we got here. By design my friend, by design.

  5. Have you a source for the $2.75 million figure versus the million-dollar revenue stream once provided by the downtown jail? It would be very helpful to our readers to actually see the budgetary figures. Nothing persuades like dollar signs from official sources, no?

    Secondly, where did the Austin contact you mention come up with the figure on increased incarceration rates? It would be a key indicator of how substance abuse issues are used to attack the civil rights - especially the right to vote - of people who have been convicted for such offenses.

    Tough world, no? It appears to be a tough world made tougher by powers that be who import drugs, create miserable economic conditions and make the trafficking therein appear attractive, then turn a ministerial duty of incarceration and detention into a growth industry that actually limits the self determinative rights of the people unfortunate enough to have been lured into the sorry system to begin with. - The Legendary

  6. You wanna reduce our jail population in a very legitimate manner?

    Tell the DA's office to stop telling law enforcement to overcharge cases. Tell the DA's office to immediately notify the jail to drop the bond when the overcharged case is refused. Tell the Probation Department to immediately notify the jail to drop the bond when the case has been sentenced to probation. These delays amount to days, weeks and sometimes months that the taxpayers pay to house inmates that do not belong there and they expose the county to civil liability issues.

    Also, tell the DA's office that for a person with no prior convictions to spend 62 days in jail (amounts to $2500 in jail costs, not to mention costs of prosecutor, court personnel, including judge) for a broken window pane that probably amounted to less than $100 is excessive.

    The issue of overcrowding at the jail is not just the fault of the jail, but deserves an analysis of all contributing factors. We, the taxpayers, are footing the bill for a lot of nonsense in this county.

  7. The nonsense is coming from an incompetent Sheriff and Chief Deputy who have been out to line their own pockets with tax payer money. The corruption in the Sheriff's office never ceases to amaze me.