Over the weekend, the Austin Statesman’s Mike Ward authored a story titled, “County, private lockups sit empty, drain money as Texas prisoners dwindle,” (March 31), pointing out that 30,000 of the state’s 93,000 county jail beds are sitting empty and private prisons built on spec can’t find clients. “There’s not a customer out there right now for these beds,” said Jones County Judge Dale Spurgin, who wants the state to lease his county’s facility even though no one thinks it’s needed.
Grits sees no reason for the state to bail out counties or private companies that built extra lockup space hoping to profit from incarceration, a gambit your correspondent considers cynical and untoward. For several years this blog has been documenting examples of speculative prisons and jails going bust for lack of clients. As far as I’m concerned, they made their bed, let them lie in it.