Private company pulls plug on contract to manage Bowie County and Bi-State Jails

Texarkana

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TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – The Bowie County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday announced that LaSalle Corrections, the private company that manages the Bowie County Correctional Center and the Bi State Justice Center has terminated its contract with Bowie County, effective Feb. 12, 2021.

In January, Bowie County and LaSalle signed a three-year contract, but in the contract, either party was allowed to withdraw without cause, which is the option LaSalle exercized.

LaSalle manages several correctional facilities in Georgia, Louisiana and Texas, and has overseen operations at the Bowie County facility since 2010, although Bowie County Sheriff James Prince said the facilities have been run by private companies since November 2001.

Prince said earlier this year a budget was prepared to determine the estimated cost of Bowie County operating the two facilities, so the sheriff’s department has a place to begin, now that it will become a reality.

He said employment applications will be distributed among LaSalle employees and he’s hoping to hire all or as many who will come, adding that they’re hoping to pay the employees as much, close to as much as they were earning with LaSalle, but until the budget is finalized they won’t know for sure.

Prince, who is retiring on Jan. 1, 2021, will be succeeded by Bowie County Chief Deputy Jeff Neal, who was elected in March 2020. Neal, who has served as chief deputy for six years, and Prince are working together so the transition from private to public management will be as seamless as possible.

He said Bowie County has enjoyed working with LaSalle and that the company has been instrumental in obtaining contracts with other agencies to facilitate the operations of the two jails. In terminating the contract, LaSalle Executive Director Rodney Cooper said, “We have enjoyed and appreciated our long, positive, working relationship with Bowie County Officials.” He added that the company appreciates the work of the employees at the facilities, and said the company plans to work closely with the sheriff’s office to provide  a smooth transition.

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