Texas lawmakers consider privatizing inmate care

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas lawmakers facing a projected shortfall in the next two-year budget have discussed plans to hire private medical vendors to care for state prisoners.

House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden of Richardson on Tuesday told the Austin American-Statesman that he's discussed a draft plan. Madden says he's spoken with a senior adviser to Gov. Rick Perry, Mike Morrissey.

Specifics have not been released.

Perry spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger says his office will continue to work with lawmakers on this and other issues.

The state more than 15 years ago hired the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Texas Tech University to help treat inmates. Madden says the system has become a national model for prisoner treatment costs.

Lawmakers face a $27 billion budget shortfall in providing existing state services.


Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com