TEXARKANA, Texas — LaSalle Corrections, the private company which has managed the Bowie County jail since 2010, is allowing its current contract to expire mid-February, according to Bowie County Judge Bobby Howell.
Howell said the Bowie County Sheriff's Office will assume management of the jail in the Bi-State Justice Building in downtown Texarkana and the annex located behind it on Front Street when the contract expires Feb. 12.
"LaSalle gave me written notice that they're terminating their contract with Bowie County," Howell said.
According to a press release issued Tuesday by the Bowie County Sheriff's Office, LaSalle gave notice Nov. 9 to Howell of its intent to "exercise discretionary authority to terminate without cause contractual agreements regarding the management of the Bowie County Correctional Center. Termination of the agreement is effective February 12, 2021."
Beginning Feb. 13, the jail will be run by the Bowie County Sheriff's Office.
"We anticipate Bowie County hiring its own employees to operate the Bowie County Jails (Bowie County Correctional Center and Bi-State Jail)," Sheriff James Prince said in the press release. "We actually prepared a budget, earlier this year, to determine the estimated cost of Bowie County operating those facilities. The changeover will occur on Feb 13, 2021, after now Sheriff-Elect Jeff Neal is sworn in as Bowie County's new Sheriff on Jan. 1. I know he is very capable to handle the duties he will have, managing the overall operation of the jail facilities."
According to the press statement from BCSO, LaSalle Corrections Executive Director Rodney Cooper said the company will work with county employees to effect a successful change in management.
"We have enjoyed and appreciate our long, positive, working relationship with Bowie County officials. We are proud of the hard working men and women at the Correctional Center and will work closely with the Sheriff's Office to provide a smooth transition," Cooper said in the press release.
LaSalle has been a source of controversy in the county as a number of lawsuits stemming from inmate deaths and injuries have been filed. The suits allege LaSalle staff falsified records, failed to meet basic medical care standards and are guilty of constitutional and human rights violations.
Sheriff-Elect James Neal said he is already at work.
"We definitely have to have good people in place," Neal said. "We met with some of the jail employees this morning and encouraged them to re-apply and we will be meeting with the rest of them throughout the week. There are a lot of plans to made between now and February."