Local officials have boiled down the complicated tangle of concerns surrounding a proposed private prison in Nacogdoches, Texas, to one issue – the bottom line, says the city’s Daily Sentinel. “In my heart, the biggest thing is that the cash it would bring into our system will later be reflected in sales tax and perhaps some home sales,” said Nacogdoches Mayor Roger Van Horn. The prison, operated by the firm Management Training Corp. could bring in nearly $1 million per month in salaries, he said, with starting wages for correctional officers likely to be around $30,000 to $32,000 per year.
However, recent research shows that prisons aren’t necessarily the economic boon they were once thought. And in rural areas, prisons have, in some cases, proven to be more of a hindrance to economic development than a help. That’s according to a study published in “Social Science Quarterly,” which found that prisons can impede economic growth in rural areas. And Calvin Beale, senior demographer with the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), said it “is questionable whether prisons will give rural communities a foundation for long-term growth.”