Dalby Correctional Facility processing new inmates from across Texas

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 11:19 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Dalby Correctional Facility in Post is processing its first busload of inmates since its contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons expired earlier this year. It’s now a county jail, with a special classification to house inmates from jails around the state that have no room.

After finding out its federal contract was over, county leaders have tried to keep the facility open. County Judge Lee Norman says staff has been working to bring the facility up to state jail standards. He’s relieved new contracts with Harris and Tarrant counties to fill 1,000 beds means the facility will be up and running closer to its previous capacity.

“We can take a breath of fresh air, I hope. I don’t know what’s coming in the future, but to get the thousand beds open is a good, good start,” Judge Norman said.

The state gave the OK last week that the facility was up to state standards. Judge Norman says this summer he started getting phone calls from other jails across the state about needing more beds.

“The first two to call were Harris and then Tarrant counties, and I’ve talked to the sheriffs or the jail administrators there and we’ve had good dialogues and just, all they want is to hurry up,” Judge Norman said.

Tuesday, the first busload of 40 inmates arrived from Harris County. Judge Norman says Garza County anticipates 40 more a day through Friday.

“Then next week, we’re going to look at kind of the same thing, as we can process them in, get everyone acclimated. We’ll just kind of play that by ear first,” Judge Norman said.

Judge Norman says Governor Abbott’s office has provided a grant so employees can train inside the facility. Fifty employees have already passed their course to become certified county jailers, and another fifty will start the course in November.

He says the jail is now 60-75 percent staffed, with many people either staying on through the transition or returning to the facility. He says the pay scale has remained the same.

“So, that was at least half of our workforce before. So again, we’re very pleased. We’re doing this for them, because they’re Garza county residents and Lubbock and Kent and all around the area,” Judge Norman said, “We still need to hire folks, so that’s important to keep growing.”

The facility has another 800 beds that haven’t been contracted out.

“We’ve had some other large counties reach out to us and we’re still in discussions to say when and if we will talk more,” he said.

Previously, under its federal program, the facility offered educational training and trade courses for inmates. Judge Norman says the county won’t be able to offer those for the foreseeable future.