Giles W. Dalby Correctional Facility will ‘continue as it began’ as county jail
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Giles W. Dalby Correctional Facility in Post will convert back into a county jail. That is how it started in 1999.
In less than 10 years, it transitioned into holding only federal prisoners, including undocumented immigrants.
In February, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) decided to not renew the contract with Management and Training Corporations (MTC), which manages the facility in Post.
The contract was not renewed because the BOP federally-owned units have bed space and no longer need private prisons. The end of the contract is June 30, 2022.
After months of trying to find a new vendor, Judge Norman announced the Giles W. Dalby Correctional Facility will “continue as it began; as a county jail.”
Garza County owns the facility. The county will renovate and start offering it as a place to hold other counties’ inmates.
“We have a ways to go to to meet the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. We were well along on that path. The warden of the prison and staff are just waiting to ask what to do next,” said Garza County Judge Lee Norman.
The Dalby Unit has 1,096 beds that currently meet Texas jail standards. There are more than 800 beds that do not yet. There are 565 inmates being held in the facility now.
Not only will it be a county jail, but the facility is also equipped to help provide beds for the state jails.
“I’m excited to announce this for our employees first. For the citizens of our community next. They’ve hung in there with us and we appreciate them so much,” said Judge Norman.
The current employees will be transitioned to county employees. The federally-certified guards currently at the unit will be trained on Texas Jail Standards. The South Plains Association of Governments is partnering to provide that.
“They (the employees) have been paid on the federal pay scale. Originally, and there are still some employees out there that are certified county jailers from that original group. We will begin retraining those folks. We have 12 months to get those trained. They’re already experts in their field of corrections, but they need to make the county jail requirements,” said Judge Norman.
The county will need more jailers. As a federal facility, it is only required to have one guard per 72 inmates. To qualify as a county jail in Texas, it has to maintain a ratio of at least one guard per 48 inmates.
The county is working with the Office of the Governor to get a grant to help provide the education and training for the officers to get their certification. It takes three weeks to train a guard to become a Texas-certified jailer. It will take several months to get everyone through training.
There is not a contract signed by the counties which would use the facility. They are still negotiating the contracts. Some of the contracts may be finalized this week.
There was not a clear date on when the jail standard certification would be completed, but Judge Norman said they will have completed or be near completion of the initial “list of things” by the end of June or about six weeks.
In 1998, the county sold $32 million worth of bonds, intending for this facility to ease the burden on property taxpayers. Judge Norman says it is still on track to pay those off in 2025.
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