Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Top Stories

December 5, 2012

Prison again targeted for closure

As he did two years ago, State Sen. John Whitmire, from Houston, wants to close CCA’s Pre-Parole Transfer Facility in Mineral Wells

By CHRIS AGEE

State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, recently suggested closing the Mineral Wells Pre-Parole Transfer Facility along with a state jail in Dallas.

Whitmire – who chairs the Senate Criminal Justice Committee – told the Index several factors contributed to his recommendation.

“All the indicators are that the prison populations are going to continue to drop for a variety of reasons,” he said, explaining the sound economic response is to close down underperforming facilities.

He said he chose the Mineral Wells facility because it “gets poor reviews for its treatment program” and “it is often on the very short list of the worst risk prisons in terms of configuration and construction.”

Whitmire said he has never personally visited the facility but has seen reports of security problems.

“It’s not a done deal,” he said. “It’s on the table for discussion; it’s a privately run prison.”

He conceded the “jobs are important to the community” but explained the facility is unnecessary.

“If you don’t need it, why do we spend money we don’t have?” he asked. “We ought to celebrate that we can spend less tax dollars.”

Mineral Wells Mayor Mike Allen said Whitmire has suggested closing the local facility before.

“He did that a couple of years ago,” Allen said. “We fought that ... and it actually made sense to keep it here at that time.”

At that time, he said, Whitmire claimed the facility “had one of the largest problems with contraband,” though the facility has spent considerable time and money on improvements in the intervening years.

If Whitmire’s recommendation moves forward, Allen said the city will fight to keep the facility in Mineral Wells open.

“They are a good corporate neighbor and I think they’re very important to this community,” he said.

He speculated the city’s reaction would be similar to the course local leaders took when Whitmire targeted the facility before.

“We sent letters to [State Rep. Jim] Keffer and [State Sen. Craig] Estes,” he said, noting the city also contacted Whitmire but “never got a reply from him.”

In response to Allen’s concerns, Whitmire said, “He ought to worry about the community of where the prison resides,” explaining a security breach is inevitable “if you don’t keep contraband out of the prison.”

Cole McKennon, warden at the local facility, issued a statement to the Index in response to the Whitmire’s recommendation.

“For the past 17 years, CCA’s dedicated employees at the Mineral Wells Pre-Parole Transfer Facility have consistently provided the state-needed capacity in a rehabilitative environment that provides real savings to taxpayers and meaningful recidivism-reducing programs to offenders,” he said.

Though Whitmire’s statements include allegations of security problems at the facility, McKennon said employees “work hard to ensure that the facility meets or exceeds CCA’s expectations and, more importantly, those of our government partner.”

An assistant to Keffer, R-Eastland, said Monday morning the legislator will be briefed on the issue and will contact local leaders potentially affected before issuing a statement.

Estes, R-Wichita Falls, did not respond to the Index’s request for comment.

1
Text Only
Top Stories
  • arrestees.jpg Man charged with drug possession, escape; police arrest man on burglary, burglary warrant charges

    Police make arrests in separate cases involving a suspicious individual downtown allegedly found in possession of a meth pipe and a quantity of meth, and a man charged with burglary who was wanted in another burglary case.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • 143_20121228_20586-Edit.jpg Taylor Albin: Boss clown

    It is always good to be the boss – including when you are a circus clown.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • marauder Chris Snapp.jpg Zombies take over downtown

    Thursday and Friday parts of downtown Mineral Wells will succumb to an invasion of plague-stricken, blood-thirsty marauders.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos 1 Link

  • 0720 one geese IMG_0387.jpg Wild goose hunt?

    A large flock of Canadian geese that have roosted at Holiday Hills Country Club might have management stuck like a duck.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0731 TFT stage.JPG Setting the stage

    Texas Frontier Trails is, well, once again on the trail.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo 1 Link

  • budget cover.jpg Optimism in numbers

    Next year's proposed budget seeds optimism for Mineral Well's growth.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing set for second fire district proposal

    PALO PINTO – Palo Pinto County Commissioners set a date for a hearing to place a petition on the Nov. 4 general election ballot to create a second Emergency Services District.

    July 29, 2014

  • Inquiry made on housing children at CCA

    An inquiry about housing at the former Corrections Corporation of America facility at Wolters Industrial Park some of the thousands of unaccompanied children who have crossed illegally into the United States seems to be nothing more than that, at least for now.

    July 28, 2014 2 Stories

  • Woman killed in one-vehicle wreck

    SALESVILLE – A Mineral Wells woman died Friday after she crashed her car into a brick retaining wall near Hilltop Road.

    July 28, 2014

  • bryan joyner1.jpg Back on the beat

    It is never too late to start a music career – or restart one as the case may be. For Mineral Wells High School Class of 1989 graduate Bryan Adam Joyner, restarting his is the case. He is once again making a strong push to get his music into the mainstream while performing wherever he can.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo 1 Link

Featured Ads
SmugMug


Click on a photo to see our SmugMug photos

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.