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Old 05-23-2003, 07:27 PM
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Default The prison privatization bill is coming back to life

DON’T LET THE LEGISLATURE GIVE OUR PRISONS TO FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES!


The prison privatization bill is coming back to life and we need your immediate help! This bill was derailed by the walkout of the Texas Democrats in the House, but we expect it to find new life when the House takes up SB 1952 (the massive government reorganization bill). Although the Senate bill does not contain any reference to prison privatization, the House intends to substitute its version of HB 2 for that Senate version, and the terrible prison privatization language is in HB 2.

This is a radical proposal that will vastly expand the number of for-profit private prisons, will put all these private prisons under a new state agency, and will virtually eliminate effective monitoring and oversight of these prisons. And it won't save the state any money.

Make sure you emphasize that:

(1) the prison privatization provisions have no cost savings for the state;

(2) it is wasteful of limited state resources to create a new state agency that will
duplicate the existing services of TDCJ;

(3) this is a radical proposal and the legislature should not adopt the changes without long-term careful study of the costs and practical implications; and

(4) the representatives should not put the entire bill at risk by including such controversial provisions.

Some other talking points:

(1) Private prisons have a terrible track record in Texas--newspapers have been filled with stories about abuses of prisoners, escapes, violence against guards and inmates, and riots. We don't need to expand a scandal-filled system that puts public safety at risk.

(2) Private prisons won't save the state money. State budget experts found that the cost difference per day is less than a dollar!

(3) The way private prisons make their money is by paying guards 30% less than the state pays them. If we convert a lot of public prisons to private, lots of state employees will find their salaries and benefits cut substantially.

(4) We DON'T need to create a new agency to manage private prisons. It's too expensive and duplicates the work of TDCJ. Don't expand government when we have a budget crisis and can't afford to meet basic needs for children.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

CALL TODAY! THE HOUSE MAY VOTE ON THIS BILL AS SOON AS SATURDAY, MAY 24TH!

Please call your representative TODAY and tell them that you want all references to prison privatization kept out of SB 1952!

You should also call all members of the House Government Reform Committee, whose names and numbers are below, and ask to speak to the staff person who deals with criminal justice issues:

Chairman David Swinford--(512) 463-0470
Vice-Chair Pete Gallego--(512) 463-0566
Rep. Ray Allen (the sponsor of the privatization bill)--(512) 463-0694
Rep. Bill Callegari--(512) 463-0528
Rep. Carter Casteel--(512) 463-0325
Rep. Robby Cook--(512) 463-0682
Rep. Todd Smith--(512) 463-0522


All of these private prison companies have a terrible track record in Texas. Click here to see a list highlighting scandals in private prisons just in Texas:
http://www.aclutx.org/legislature/pr...highlights.htm

Here’s a website that tells you who your representative is:

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/fyi/fyi.htm
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