Texas prison auctioned for $6M

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:07 PM ET

An empty Texas prison has been auctioned for $6 million.

An undisclosed private prison company bought the Bill Clayton Detention Center in Littlefield, 600 km west of Dallas, on Thursday.

The medium-security facility was built in 2000 and boasts more than 12 hectares of land and five "housing pods" which can hold 383 inmates. It also comes with furniture, linens, computers, kitchen supplies and other equipment.

The opening bid was set at $5 million, according to the auction house, Williams & Williams Commercial Real Estate.

"New owners will benefit from support from the town that built the facility, the area's low cost of living as well as a ready local workforce," the auction website says.

Advocacy group Grassroots Leadership released a case study about the detention centre that says it was built using $10 million in revenue bonds.

The town built the prison in the hopes overcrowded facilities in other areas would attract more prisoners. The Texas Youth Commission initially sent juvenile offenders to the Littlefield prison, but ended its contract in 2003. An agreement was made with the State of Wyoming to send its young offenders to the facility, but that ended in 2005.

Then, while housing inmates from Idaho, one man placed in solitary confinement for more than a year killed himself in 2008. The Idaho Department of Corrections audited the facility and found guards routinely falsified reports, the facility was understaffed, and programming was not offered to the inmates. The report ruined the prison's reputation.

City staff noted in budget deliberations in September that the jail wasn't bringing in as much revenue as expected.


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