Company running Texarkana jail to leave; 136 employees in limbo
TEXARKANA, AR (KSLA) -
The company that runs the Bowie County Correctional Center and Bi-State Justice Center lockup in Texarkana has notified the county that it will soon leave the area.
KSLA News 12 spoke with Bowie County Sheriff James Prince about what's next for the jail.
"We kind of anticipated this might be coming with the economy like it is," Prince says.
Community Educations Centers notified Prince by letter to announce that it will not renew its contract to operate the two facilities. The contract expires in 90 days.
"I have been told that CEC, the company that has it now, has been told to lay off some employees. I don't know how many," the sheriff says.
Prince says the New Jersey-based company has 136 employees operating the two local jails. Now Prince says he is concerned not only with public safety but also for these employees keeping their jobs.
"I know when we renew the contract with someone else or we take it back over ourself, I am going to demand that these employees keep their jobs."
The Bowie County Correctional Center and Bi-State Justice Center can house more than 900 inmates. As of Monday, there were about 400 in custody.
"With the CEC moving out, we are going to look at every option we got to save money for Bowie County. One of those options is moving our inmates out of the Bi-State and putting all our inmates in the annex," Prince says.
The sheriff says he has received inquires from other private agencies who are expressing an interest in running the two facilities.