LAMESA, TX (KCBD) - Tucked away in east Lamesa is a maximum security prison where more than one thousand inmates are housed.
That means a lot of jobs for the Lamesa community, and if you happen to be looking or a job right now, this may be your ticket.
Assistant Warden Williams Jones says there are many job opportunities available at the prison right now.
The prison is short nearly 200 correctional officers and Assistant Warden William H. Jones says they are in dire need of help.
On the other side of a barbed wire fence, through a strict security set up, behind thick walls are nearly 2,000 inmates, many of whom require maximum security.
"We try to operate the most safe prison environment that we can, for the offenders and the employees," Jones said.
Prisoners here range from gang members and capital murder inmates to those who have committed lesser crimes.
But Jones says there is one slight problem. "Right now I need about 178 correctional officers."
When the oil boom hit two years ago, the unit lost several guards to the Midland/Odessa area, and they haven't bounced back since.
"South Texas, southwest Texas and west Texas are where most of our staffing shortages are, because in east Texas there's not as many staffing problems. That's why they offer bonuses in these areas, if we can get correctional officers to move into these locations," Jones said.
So Jones is recruiting help with an upcoming job fair.
The fair will be staffed by recruiters who will take people through the screening and application process, give them information about pay scales, and answer questions about what it's like to work at a prison.
Jones says there are several common misconceptions about working in a prison...that may hinder people from wanting to apply.
"There's scary things that happen in prison. There just are. There's no way for me to sugarcoat that. But for the most part, you're not going to find an employee that says they feel unsafe coming to work here," Jones said.
But Jones wants people to know the Preston E. Smith unit is a maximum security unit, and he's asking for help in keeping our communities safe.
So if you're looking for a career change, there will be a job screening at the prison on Aug. 6 at 7:30 a.m.