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February 25, 2013 (The Dallas Morning News)

Jail opponents, state politicians agree:"It’s time to close the Dawson State Jail on the Trinity River in Dallas"

On Friday state Sen. Tommy Williams, a Woodlands Republican and chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, proposed the state take control of a vacant private prison in West Texas in order to empty out the Dawson State Jail and the Pre-Parole Transfer Facility in Mineral Wells. Both are privately operated by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America. 

Williams’ call for closure echoes that of state Sen. John Whitmire, the Houston Democrat who told The News in December that, quite simply, “We don’t need it.”

The Grassroots Leadership --based in North Carolina, with offices in Austin-- and The Sentencing Project reiterated their call for closing the jail. The coaltion issued a brief report titled Dawson State Jail: The Case for Closure, insisting the jail’s an unsafe place that’s no longer necessary given the declining jail population statewide. 

Issue Area(s): Sentencing Policy, Incarceration, Racial Disparity