As its federal contract was ended, county leaders scrambled to keep the facility open. Updates to the facility have been made to meet state jail standards. New contracts with Harris and Tarrant counties that could fill over 1,000 beds were in the process of being negotiated would put the facility up and running at a rate very close 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.
Judge Norman says he received phone calls from jails across the state and they needed 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. Another 40 more a day are anticipated 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.
Governor Abbott’s office has provided a grant for employees to train inside the facility. Fifty employees have passed course that make them eligible to become certified county jailers. Another fifty are expected to qualify in November.