Texas Prisoner Transport Services causes problems for Falls County

Posted at 7:45 PM, Feb 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-04 22:34:14-05

Falls County Sheriff Ricky Scaman said he wasn't surprised to hear that Texas Prisoner Transport Services was behind Cedric Marks' escape on Sunday.

He said this isn't the first time the company has caused problems for people in Central Texas. 

Scaman said the company owes Falls County about $50,000.

Scaman explained that his department started a contract with Texas Prisoner Transport Services in early 2017. The agreement was that the jail would house inmates between stops for the company.

Scaman ended the contract this past December, four months after payments stopped coming in. 

"When you're in the business of housing contract inmates, you automatically know that sometimes their payments are delayed a little bit, for whatever reason. It takes a while to get it through commissioner's court, you only meet once a month, different reasons like that," Scaman said. "We've never had not one problem with anyone not paying any money, until now."

Scaman said the problem started right around the time the company brought in a new CEO named Ryan Whitten. Whitten has proven to be a tough man to get a hold of.

On Sunday, Central Texas News Now called Whitten to question him during the time of Marks' escape. He declined to comment at that time and said he would send out a press release later.

That press release never came.

On Monday, Central Texas News Now called and sent emails to Whitten with no response.

Scaman said he's been experiencing the same problem for months. 

"Very hard to get in touch with, doesn't return phone calls very well," Scaman said. 

The last time Scaman was able to get in touch with Whitten, he said he would send the payment by the end of January. That payment never arrived.

Texas Prisoner Transport Services is now housing inmates at the Hill County Jail.

Chief Deputy Rick White said they've been working with the company for the last 60 days and have yet to have an issue.

"No complaints," White said. "We grade them based off the interaction we've had."

White said they are aware of the issue the company has with Falls County, but did their own vetting and decided to move forward with them.

"The way our agreement is, we can cease doing business with them at will as well as they can," White said. 

White said the company has made payments on time, as scheduled.

Scaman isn't sure that will last since he said that's how things started out for them.

Scaman said the Falls County Jail has contracts with other transport companies. Those payments are helping to offset costs of running the jail.

He plans on getting lawyers involved if Whitten doesn't attempt to fix the issue soon.

"It would be absorbed by the jail, which could eventually lead to the taxpayers if we're not able to make that money up," Scaman said.

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