Some pushback on a bad idea.
A coalition of influential Texas organizations is pushing back against the proposed privatization of a state psychiatric hospital by Geo Care, a subsidiary of a prison operations group that has a troubled history in Texas.
The Department of State Health Services is preparing to privatize one of the state hospitals it oversees, a move estimated to save taxpayers millions of dollars a year.
Members of the coalition, concerned by the fact that Geo Care was the only bidder to operate the hospital, are urging the state health department, the Legislative Budget Board and Gov. Rick Perry to reject the company’s proposed management of the hospital.
“The Geo Group has a long and troubled history in Texas,” said Bob Libal, whose organization, Grassroots Leadership, signed the letter along with groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Disability Rights Texas, Texas NAACP, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and the United Methodist Church.
The letter in question is here, the associated press release is here, and some background on this is here. I’d not heard of Grassroots Leadership before, but their mission statement says they’re all about abolishing for-profit prisons, jails, and detention centers, so this is certainly in their wheelhouse. Here’s a letter they sent in March to all 50 governors opposing plans by Corrections Corporation of America to spend up to $250 million buying prisons from state, local, and federal government entities, and then managing the facilities. The only problem I see with the letter they sent to Rick Perry is that all the signers are lefty groups, meaning that Perry will send it straight to the round file. That doesn’t make them any less right, it just means they’ll have the dubious pleasure of saying “we told you so!” someday in the future when this has gone horribly wrong. The Trib has more.