The private inmate transport service that bungled the extradition of a capital murder suspect is closing down, according to an email obtained by the Telegram.
“The purpose of this letter is to thank you for allowing Texas Prisoner Transport to serve your extradition and transport needs these last few years and to inform you that effective February 10, 2018, (Texas Prisoner Transportation Services) will begin to wrap up its business affairs and cease operations,” wrote Ryan Whitten, the CEO of Global Prisoner Services — the parent company of Texas Prisoner Transportation Services.
Bell County has used the Taylor-based company for inmate transportation since at least 2016. Whitten informed the county government about the shuttering of Texas Prisoner Transportation Services this week.
A representative with Texas Prisoner Transportation Services on Thursday declined to make a statement regarding their closure.
“Unfortunately, new insurance rates have forced us to evaluate our business and conclude that we simply can’t continue to operate,” Whitten said.
Texas Prisoner Transportation Services was founded in 2011.
This move comes after the company was involved in the extradition of Killeen resident Cedric Marks, 44, to Texas from Michigan. Marks is charged with capital murder in connection with the Jan. 3 deaths of former girlfriend Jenna Scott and her friend, Michael Swearingin, both of Temple.
On Sunday Marks fled from a prisoner transfer van that was parked at a McDonald’s in Conroe, north of Houston. He was found nine hours later inside a nearby trash can.
Marks is in the Bell County Jail, where he is held in lieu of $1.7 million bail.
Since the Marks incident, Bell County has not been using Texas Prisoner Transportation Services, County Judge David Blackburn said.
“We’ve already started the process for going out to bids for a new prisoner transport services,” he said. “I expect that process to take about 30 to 45 days to complete. In the meantime, the Sheriff’s Department will do its own prisoner transports as needed.”
When the bids come back, the Commissioners Court will consider one for approval.
The contract with Texas Prisoner Transportation Services started on Sept. 1, 2016. Since then, the commissioners approved two one-year renewals with the Taylor-based company. Two one-year renewals remained.
Earlier this week, the Commissioners Court said it planned to take Marks’ escape into consideration when they considered renewing the inmate transfer service contract in the summer.