Monday, September 24, 2012

Half million dollars to cover final 2012 CEC jail bill

Waco – McLennan County Budget Director Adam Harry will request nearly a half million additional dollars to pay for “outside care” of prisoners by CEC, Inc., at the Jack Harwell Detention Center.

The private corporation houses prisoners of the McLennan County Sheriff's Office in the lockup that was built with nearly $50 million in revenue bonds on the speculation that there was money to be made by keeping federal and state prisoners for a fee.

The revenue bonds were issued without the approval of voters.

Instead, McLennan County has already spent $2,622,985 to pay CEC, Inc., to house its own prisoners who overcrowd the county lockup on Highway 6 at the rate of $45.50 per prisoner per day.

The final “budget amendment request” of fiscal year 2012, which ends on September 30, comes to $426,654 for a total budget paid to CEC of $3,049,639 in fiscal year 2012, according to the court's Tuesday agenda.

As readers may see, the additional funds were cobbled together from such items as salaries of regular deputies in the office's various divisions, workers compensation, FICA taxes, and administrative personnel.

Budget Justification is listed as “August 2012 – Prisoner population has increased above expectation at the time the budget was prepared.”

The more than 300 beds at the downtown courthouse jail are still unoccupied while the building is renovated and repaired.


  1. They still have September to pay for from FY 2012. They might set a nationwide record for being 350% over budget in the million dollar category. It's only $2.5 million dollars. Nothing to see here.

  2. Is it asking too much for some of our elected leaders to look outside this McLennan County bubble and see how other counties have solved their overcrowding problems? They have this thing called Google and it is very easy to use.

    Taylor County (Abilene) has a model program in which they have a coordinator whose job it is to go through the jail population list every day and determine why each arrestee is being held and fine tune the process. Do they need an attorney appointed? Has the DA's office refused the case?

    But in McLennan County, they want to drag on appointing an attorney since they probably don't want to pay them because they know there is a chance the case may be dropped. And the DA's office can't communicate to the jail when they refuse a case. So, we have people sitting in the jail for 90 days when the DA refused the charge maybe a week after they were arrested. I wish someone would investigate and expose how often that happens.

    We never needed a new jail. All we needed was for these people in charge to get their shit together and use some common sense.