Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lubbock can't find contract inmates to fill overbuilt jail

The Lubbock County Jail continues to lose money after building more space than they needed hoping to secure contracts for housing prisoners from the feds and other jurisdictions. Reported Fox34 News:
Upon its completion, the Lubbock County Detention Center was estimated to be able to house 200 federal inmates in addition to its regular inmate population. With federal inmates, comes federal dollars.

However, according to Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe, the current average population of federal inmates at the detention center is only 70.

"It is something that does help offset the general fund budget when we do have any additional fund revenue coming in," Rowe said.

County Commissioner Patti Jones said that does pose a small problem because the number of federal inmates was expected to be much higher last year.

"So yea, when the number is down like this it does affect us on our budget. We still try to budget pretty conservative, even at that point, but again, until we see what the final numbers end up being at the end of the year, we very much so could see a shortfall in what we had budgeted for 2011.
The truth is officials are understating what a boondoggle the new jail turned out to be. When Lubbock officials took the project to voters for approval, they suggested that the jail would pay for itself by leasing excess space to the feds, the state and other counties, as well  as leasing out beds in the old jail downtown. When the new jail opened, though, there weren't any contracts available for the extra beds and the downtown facility was closed. Clearly counties that hoped to profiteer from housing contract inmates miscalculated. The bubble has burst and there's simply not enough demand from the feds or anybody else to fill all the overbuilt jails around the state.

See related Grits posts:


sunray's wench said...

Can't they turn it into some other multiple housing unit instead like an old people's home or low-rent social housing?

Scott In South Austin said...


Who want's to live in a 12 x 10 square foot space for the price of Section 8 housing. It costs more to renovate a prison into functional space.

Face it. Llubbock screwed up.

RSO wife said...

Truth, justice and greed, it's the American way,

The Homeless Cowboy said...

Im sorry but I find it rather hard to feel sorry for them. I am however very happy to hear that there are not enough inmates to fill any jail on planet earth. I think everyone would agree that this is a good thing. I realize that they made some bad decisions and spent their money stupidly but I doubt they would be crying if anyone else made the same mistake. Take a tip from the Japanese and turn it into a Miro Hotel. Sorry about your luck, deal with it. Im just sayin.

Charlie O said...

Hey Grits, Don't look now, but it seems your village idiot is missing. Word is, he's been seen wandering around Iowa.

That said, what is any institution or government in Texas doing trying to capture US Government dollars. According to your village idiot, there should be no US Government dollars and y'all should be fending for yourself.

Susan Fenner said...

I just hope that they don't start looking for people to fill those cells. If you build it . . . Ask the state how that worked out for them! That's how the prison building boom happened and somehow they found occupants.

legalass said...

As a resident of Lubbock, I can tell you how the city will fill those beds. The Lubbock Police Department will expand their "Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out" mentality and arrest more minorities, homeless and poor people. You think the jail is a joke? Check out how our city leaders built a new animal shelter that cost millions and yet couldn't find a dime to help our ever-growing homeless population. In fact, if you give a homeless person a sandwich that was made in your own kitchen, you'll be fined!! I tell you, these are some of the meanest damn "Christians" you'll ever meet.