HEADLINE: Boot camp contract may not be renewed; Bid to operate facility called deficient
SOURCE: Staff Writer of the Arlington Morning News
BYLINE: Bob Schober
BODY: Tarrant County judges indicated Wednesday they are poised to reject a bid from Correctional Services Corp. to renew its operating contract for the Mansfield boot camp.
Also on Wednesday, a judge placed a boot camp inmate who had to be resuscitated with his mother until he undergoes a drug assessment and until further details of his medical condition are known.
State District Judge George Gallagher said Wednesday Correctional Service's bid, as well as another bid, were "deficient."
"The way I see it, just on the preliminary bids, neither one of them is going to be acceptable," said Judge Gallagher, who chairs the three-judge budget committee of the county's probation department. The committee is reviewing the contracts to manage the 370-bed facility. Existing contracts expire on Aug. 31.
James Slattery, chief executive of Florida-based Correctional Services Corp., was not available for comment, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday. She also said corporation officials "have not received any information, so we cannot comment."
In the absence of an acceptable bid, judges must decide whether to close the facility, run it themselves or locate a different program at the facility, officials said.
The budget committee will present the financial options to a full 19-judge panel that eventually will make the final decision.
The panel's decision could hinge on the willingness of state legislators to provide additional funding for the facility.
Judge Gallagher estimated that at least $ 6 million in state funding would be needed to operate the boot camp.
"The alternative is to try to run it, and beg, borrow and steal money from the Legislature," Judge Gallagher said.
State Sen. Chris Harris, R-Fort Worth, vice chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Tarrant County receives state funding for correctional services by the same formula as other counties.
He said the committee is awaiting a report from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice detailing how the county spends its funds.
"I need to see that report before I can make any decision," Mr. Harris said Wednesday. "And if we are going to locally run it, I'd like to see a blueprint on how it will be operated."
Operating the facility, its boot camp and substance abuse recovery programs would cost between $ 62 and $ 69 per bed, per day, for an annual cost of $ 8.3 million to $ 9.3 million at capacity, Mr. Gallagher said.
A boot-camp only facility would cost between $ 59.57 and $ 67.80 per bed, per day, according to Jim Sinclair, assistant director of the Judicial District Community Supervision and Corrections Department.