April 01, 2012

The jail bubble bursts in Texas

The Great Recession never saw a huge housing bubble burst in Texas, unlike most Sunbelt states. But, what it IS showing, now, is the bursting of a huge bubble of jail construction, a bubble that, as documented here, threatens to hobble, even crush, finances of a lot of small, rural counties across the state.

And, for Texas GOPers and others who tout privatization, let's not forget that much of the push for building more of these jails was driven by private jail companies like CCA.

I feel sorry for these local counties, but NOT for the all-GOP governments that bought off on the tough-on-crime, big-on-jobs Faustian bargain that drove such construction in the first place.

And, as the story notes, the privatizers are pulling out of these "Jail to Nowhere" places too. So, I don't feel sorry for county governments, or the state, for not getting some ironclad guarantees from the likes of CCA. That said, I'd like to see a few counties sue the state, even if it would go nowhere constitutionally.

I'd also like to see the Democratic Party make more of an issue of this, as well as get tough on its own members, whatever level of government, who have supported prison privatization.

Of course, none of this will actually happen.

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