The Oliver J. Bell Unit, a 520-man, minimal security level correctional center, located at 901 E. 5th St., Cleveland, will begin management under the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as of Friday, Sept. 1.
Thursday, Aug. 31, was the last day for the prison to be under the management of the Management & Training Corporation (MTC), which has operated the unit for the last eight years.
To thank MTC and its staff for their exceptional support of the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, Chamber staff, former staff and board members surprised prison staff with a plaque of appreciation on Tuesday.
Former Chamber COO Jim Carson, who enjoyed the longest working relationship with the prison staff on behalf of the Chamber, said, “MTC has always been a Good Neighbor supporting our community with services provided by inmates. MTC encouraged community involvement [through] quarterly community leaders meeting at the prison [and] annual MTC Department Christmas Decorating Judging by community leaders.”
He thanked MTC for being a solid supporter of the Chamber throughout the eight years of its management of the prison. MTC provided inmate services after monthly chamber luncheons where they helped set up and break down tables, and with their creative props, table décor, totem poles, train depot, and other items used to decorate for themed Chamber banquets.
Some of the inmates’ designs will be remembered from the Chamber’s Winter Wonderland (2016), Hollywood Theme (2017), Hawaii Theme-surf boards, totem poles, directional signs (2018), Cleveland Through the Ages (featuring a train depot entrance, 2019), Western Romance (corral and covered wagon desert tables, 2020), and bike racks made for Rock N Ride.
“Many people do not know we have a prison in Cleveland. The best way to find it is to look for the best-maintained property in Cleveland. Management and Training Corporation (MTC) has been a good neighbor to the entire Cleveland Community since September 1, 2015,” Carson said. “We appreciate MTC being a part of the Cleveland community over the past eight years. You will be missed.”
According to Chamber COO Victoria Good, some of the familiar faces in leadership at the Cleveland prison have been offered jobs with TDCJ in neighboring communities.