Immigrants' rights organization asks county to break contract with private company operating jail

Posted at 12:45 PM, Jul 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-31 22:43:31-04

On Tuesday, the Waco Immigrants Alliance is asking the McLennan County Commissioners Court to break its contract with the private company operating the Jack Harwell Detention Center.

This comes a month after the immigrants' rights group demanded a secondary investigation into allegations of sexual assault at that facility. Estela Briceno Fajardo, an undocumented immigrant, claims a female jailer touched her inappropriately on several occasions while she was there.

The McLennan County Sheriff's Office oversees the Jack Harwell Detention Center and the McLennan County Jail. However, La Salle Corrections currently operates the detention center.

Waco Immigrants Alliance Director Hope Mustakim said it's inhumane and a liability to have the private company running that facility. 

"This would mean to Estela is that these type of abuses wouldn't be happening at the Jack Harwell facility anymore or they would be less likely to happen under the sheriff's direct supervision and the county running it themselves," Mustakim said. 

The Commissioner's Court renewed its contract with LaSalle Corrections in April, which will expire in October of 2019. The signed agreement states that both parties have the right to terminate the contract with or without cause or penalty during any renewal option period, if either party gives a 90-day notice before termination. 

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara and County Judge Scott Felton declined to comment on the contract and the group's demands. However, McNamara did say that a second investigation into Fajardo's allegations confirmed they were unfounded.

The contract between McLennan County and LaSalle Corrections is included below: 

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