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Is Sending Fort Bend County Prisoners to Dickens County Jail a Good Idea?

A great letter last week in the Fort Bend Star ("Sending Prisoners to Another Facility Disturbing," April 16, 2008) about the Ford Bend County Commission's decision to send county prisoners over 500 miles away to the Dickens County Correctional Center. According to the letter, authored by local resident Sue Ann Lorig (and referencing Texas Prison Bidness),

Although some of the Fort Bend County Commissioners find the location a joking matter, long-distance separation is not humorous to the families of inmates. When inmates are hundreds of miles away, few families can visit. Children especially suffer.

Children of incarcerated parents are at higher risk of incarceration themselves, and they exhibit many problems that accompany parental separation, especially (when) they can't even visit. For the inmates, family connections can mean the difference between future success and recidivism. Studies have shown that continued contact with family can reduce prisoner recidivism.

Certainly long-distance separation of prisoners from their families can have devastating impacts. Just last spring at the Dickens County Correctional Center, Idaho inmate Scot Noble Payne committed suicide after enduring what the AP later called "squalid" conditions. The Idaho Department of Corrections health director later called the facility the worst prison he'd ever seen and "beyond repair."

So, why would Fort Bend want to send their prisoners to a prison with this track record? Well, one answer might lie in the change of ownership - the GEO Group, who had operated the prison, handed over management to CiviGenics, another private prison corporation, in December.

But CiviGenics has had its own troubled history in Texas. As we've reported, a 21 year-old immigrant took his own life in CiviGenics Ector lock-up last month, and CiviGenics facilities in Texarkanas and Waco have both experienced sexual assault incidents at their facilities.

Our previous coverage of Dickens County Correctional Center:

Comments

this jail is horrible with no real nurses or doctors on location and jaw breaking fights being a twice a week incident, the fights and lack of medical care is not right. as far as transfering prisoners long distances is hard on the family speaking first hand

They ship our loved ones 10hrs away. They don't transfer any funds with them from thier books. The conditions in dicken are enough to drive a person to kill themself. It is a shame that just because you go to jail, of course we are not expecting a picnic. The inmates should have better conditions and better safety in place. If my spouse dies in that place I am going to sue the state ,county, city or whoever. I feel like this situation is unjust. Something needs to be done to ensure that things change for the better. If they were on that side of the bars maybe something would get done to change things.

Even though the inmate should not be in that situation in the first place. There are alot of inmates with dissabled spouses, and parents. Alot of them are missing the most imposrtant time in thier kids life. It is hard on families with limited income to visit local, and thier loved ones get sent 10hrs away. i think there should be a two hr away place for inmates with these conditions. At time of lock up they need to see what the family of the inmates situation is. I have not worked in three years I am disabled and so is my mother-in-law and my brother-in law and my sister in law. This has been a very stressfull year for us and that is one of my dissabilities. We also have a new baby that has never been held by her father.

I am one of the nurses that they have at dickens county correctional center. We actually have a excellent 24 hour nursing staff at the facility. According to the current residents we have few complaints and they are normally pleased with the nursing care that they do get. Yoy have to remember that they are criminals.

WOW. THEY ARE CRIMINALS. AND THIS IS UR WAY OF THINKING AND REFERNING TO INMATES HELD IN UR FACILITY THAT HAVE YET TO BE PROVEN GUILTY. CUZ U ARE A HOLDING FACILITY, AND U SHOULD TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THAT SOME OF THEM ARE INNOCENT AND IF NOT INNOCENT HAVE NOT COMMITED ALL HORRENDUS CRIMES AS OTHER INMATES.AND YES THEY DID SOMETHING TO BE THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE BUT WHO  HASNT INCLUDING YOU, YOU JUST HAVENT BEEN CAUGHT FOR IT, ALL OF US COMMIT CRIMES SOME ARE BIGGER THAN OTHERS SO WE SHOULD ALL BE GIVEN A SECOND CHANCE AND  OH..AND..BUT IF   U SAY  THERE IS A 24 HOUR NURSE ROUND UP THAN WHY IS THERE ALOT OF UNHEALTHY INMATES THAT THEY HAVE TO WAIT THERE TURN ON WAITING OR TO BE RESPONDED FROM A REQUEST TO GET ATTENDED ABOUT A COLD THAT TURNS INTO A TERRIBLE INFECTION BECAUSE IT WASNT TREATED ON TIME,I DNT THINK THAT JUST CAUSE SOMEBODY GOES TO JAIL  DOES NOT MEAN THEY STOP BEING HUMAN AND THEY DNT LOOSE THEIR RIGHTS SO WATCH OUT FOR LAWSUITS..NURSE.. M

this jail is NOT as bad as every1 thinks!! An YES there are REAL Nurses and they get good medical care!!! When it comes to comitting suicide i think its stupid and no one can control it but the person himself and i think if someone is dumb enough to take their own life then LET them!! All ppl like that are wanting is someone to feel sorry for them an obviously they did somethin bad to be in there in the 1st place so thats on them!!!

wow....scary...some people are just ignorant i guess, so they make insensitive comments about other people. Obviously you are very sheltered.

YES IT IS AS BAD AS EVERYONE MAKES IT SOUND, I WAS A FT BEND PRISIONEER NOT THAT LONG AGO, AND I WAS TRANSFERRED TO DICKENS AND I DID 6 MONTHS THERE IT WAS FU@#$ HORRIABLE. SO DONT SAY THAT UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN THERE.

my boyrfriend is at dickens, he said it as pretty good. i guess it all depends on the person

I am so mad that he is there for something he did not do. We have 10 kids all together between 12 - 1 years old and it is hard for us not able to see him in months but we are staying strong and i hear other women leaving their man because they dont see them and the love is just not there and the kids dont have their father there like my step kids (his kids) from his first wife they are calling thier moms boyfriend dad and that hurts thier father and when i have my step kids for the weekend they tell me that they want their daddy home when can we go see him i cant just go down the street to take them and so they cry and our baby together dont even know his father because when they picked up my husband our baby was 6 months now he is 14 months and i do believe that he will be home soon i just have to have faith and i do believe that it is wrong and soulless that they send our husbands, dads , sons, brothers, all the way over there where we cant go it is too much money for one the all the kids in the car for 10 hours now try that on. Well you know you would not to be away from your love ones why put us throu that . 

2 years ago my life changed and my baby went to jail i havent seen him since, we wirte one another on a daily basis. I miss seeing his face, hugging him, getting those late night phone calls, but no one ever said life was easy. You have to look on the bright side of things and even though hes not with me now i know hes in a better place right now that might help him become a better person and help him in the future not to do theys bad things that do mess up his life. Its really hard but soon you forget and the days pass by quicker than you ever imagined. Atleast he can get help, and the time apart just makes the relationship stronger.

Im sick of hearing ohhh i miss my husband i miss my boyfriends all that bullshit! alright, jails jail. We all have fucking rules we have to stand by and what happens when you break them, huh you go to fucking jail, and you want remorse for them people you want them to be treated like thier angels hell na that shit aint right. So instead of you damn fools thinkin oh my poor baby NO shut the fuck up...jails jail not a trip to florida! sorry bitchsss.. get over it! They did the crime time to pay the crime...haa sorry

I agreed with you 100%! They did the crime, well... too f&*&ing bad. NOW is time to pay the crime!! I have NO simpathy for these people. I know of a mother of 3, which includes a handiccaped kid, she's an illegal, she was commiting fraud at her place of employment (selling drugs), she harrased her x-husband, his fiance and the fiance's family, she was using some one else's ss#, her whole family is a fraud, stealing identities to buy/sell goods. You name it , they did it! when she finally got caught, she was sent to FBent and now she's at Dickens, her court date keeps getting re-set and she's on 'immigration hold', hopefully she'll be sent back to her country, she's a waste of our taxpayers money!. She sould've thought about the consequences and her KIDS when she was doing all these illegal activties.

UM.. I USED TO AGREE WITH UR SORRY SCRUDGE ASS BEFORE MY HUSNAND COMMITED A CRIME AND WENT TO JAIL. ILL SEE U IN MY CHOOSE WHEN ONE OF UR LOVE ONES MAKES A MISTAKE AND IS TAKEN AWAY TO JAIL. I REALLY DONT WISH ON U CUZ IT RALLY HURTS TO SEE THE PERSON U LOVE TO BE GOING THRU SHIT, AND YES I AGREE THEY DIDNT FOLLOW THE RULES THEY SHOULD BE PUNISHED, BUT I ALSDO BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES OF RHABILITATING THESE INMATES THAT HAVE NOT COMMITED VIOLENT CRIMES.  SOME OF THEM ARE THERE CUZ OF THE THOUGHT TIMES IN LIFE AND THEY TOOK THE EASY WAY OUT, AND I SAY EASY WAY CUZ HE HAD A JOB AND WE WERE STILL STRUGGLING AND HE SAW THE EASY WAY OUT AND IT BROUGHT US HARD TIMES. SO BEFORE U JUDGE US OF TRYING TO UNDERSTAND OUT LOVED ONE FOR BEING IN THERE AND WISHING THEY WERE HERE WITH US, TRY TO PUT UR SELF IN OUT SHOES FOR A MINUTE AND IMAGINE UR BRITHER YOUR SISTER OR YOUR FATHER OR MAYBE YOU BEING PUT AWAY AND MISTREATED FOR BEING HUMAN AND NOT FOLLOWING THE RULES..

If any family members have stories from Dickens that they'd like to share, please contact me through the contact form.  http://www.texasprisonbidness.org/contact

Some people are just assholes. Jail is jail but the people that go are still human. They have feelings as well. They are PEOPLE too that just fucked up. Some more then others but who are we to judge. Thats no one place but the MAN up above.