Are Rural Prisons A Good Economic Development Strategy?

A columnist explains how the small Texas town of Eden grew to love its private prison.
September 1, 2004, 11am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"[T]he Eden Detention Center was ... purchased by the city and is now owned by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). With its in-ground granite sign and smattering of trees and flowers, the EDC looked like your average office park campus until recently, when tightened federal regulations put the malignant fencing front and center. Now as then, the building's trim facade does not suggest its true size: more than 1,300 beds, most of which are full. In other words, at least half the citizens of Eden aren't citizens at all..."

"This seemingly incongruous state of affairs is actually routine in the United States, especially in Texas, which put at least seventy prison facilities into rural communities during the nineties. Prisoners are included in the U.S. Census, and of the 21 counties in the U.S. that have more than 21 percent of their population behind bars, 10 are in [Texas]."

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Published on Wednesday, September 1, 2004 in Texas Public Policy Foundation
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