LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – For the first time ever inmates will spend the night behind bars at the new Lubbock County Detention Center, but it will take months to move them all in.
The jail population on the first night is 77. The men and women brought in Monday came from Dickens and Hale counties. It is the out of county or the overflow inmates who are top priority on the move-in list. "We've got no reports of problems so far," said Sheriff Kelly Rowe about the first day.
Lubbock County Sheriff's Office deputies processed inmates for the first time Monday at the new detention center. The priority was over flow inmates said Sheriff Rowe. The 77 inmates booked are on a list of more than 300 charged with crimes in Lubbock, but who were sent to jail in other counties because of space limitations.
Shipping those inmates out of the county cost Lubbock county taxpayers on average $3 million a year. "It's been more of a drain going out so we can see keeping the $3.2 million and generate money from federal inmates will be a huge assistance to our budget," said County Commissioner Patti Jones, precinct 4.
Moving will take time, but Sheriff Rowe estimates the projected finish date will be moved up. Currently, the schedule has inmates moving in up until the week before Thanksgiving.
After out of county inmates are in Lubbock, the next step is to de-populate the old jail and then bring federal inmates in. U.S. Marshals have requested at least 250 beds, but the contract is still in the negotiation phase. The contract would create a revenue stream Lubbock County has not seen in years.
County Commissioners plan on addressing what to do with the old facility. "We are trying to decide for sure whether to tear it down or make warehouse space," added Jones who said the county will not use it to lease beds because it is too cost prohibitive.
Starting July 26, people who are arrested in Lubbock County will be brought and booked at the new facility.
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