Texas, the Private Prison state

The incarceration industry in thriving in the state where it was born

Written by Beryl Lipton
Edited by JPat Brown

Q: Which state is host to the most big name for-profit prisons?
A: Texas. Of course, it’s Texas.

The state that emblazoned it’s “Everything’s Bigger In…” theme on the collective consciousness has been at work putting its official motto (“Friendship”) to use when it comes to the big three private prisons operators — Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group, and Management and Training Corporation.

Texas is currently home to thirty-five of their facilities, doubling the number in the next closest contender, California. The happy trio provides services to customers local, state, and federal. In particular, the U.S. government has made use of GEO and CCA immigrant detention centers in the southern tip, near the Mexican border, and along the strip of Interstate 35 from Laredo to Austin. The State of Texas itself has primarily turned to MTC for housing prisoners from the Department of Criminal Justice.

RED = Corrections Corporation of America
GREEN = Management and Training Corporation
BLUE = GEO Group

Large marker = Federal facility
Small marker = State/locally contracted facility

Some may have more than one customer. Map markers depict primary customer.

In conversations about private prisons, the name Management and Training Corporation doesn’t get thrown around quite as much as the other two, which come out on top when the dollars they bring in are stacked up. Also, MTC has a diversified approach to its public-private relationships. It runs a swath of Job Corps stations, hallways houses, and apparently receives funding from the feds to run training and “economic evaluations” abroad.

But MTC does most of its corrections business in Texas.

MuckRock has been filing requests for CCA and GEO group locations, but we’re just getting started on MTC, and, thanks to the hard work of Prison Legal News, Texas is one of the few states where privately-run state facilities are subject to state public records law — a particularly strong one in Texas.

We continue to wait for a number of our federal requests to return materials, but in the meantime, would you like to help dig into MTC’s Texas operations? Know of someone whose been held in any of The Lone Star State’s private facilities? Reach out at info@muckrock.com, and we’ll help you help us start shedding light on these black holes.


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Image by WhisperToMe via Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0