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CEC's Dickens County Jail contract expires, inmates sent to Lubbock

On Friday, Community Education Centers (CEC) decided to let their contract with the Dickens County Jail expire. All the inmates from that facility were transferred to the Lubbock County Detention Center. The US Marshals will pay the city of Lubbock a $40 per diem rate, and $10 per hour for guards, but the jail's Chief Deputy said they would negotiate for a higher rate in order to recover the cost of Lubbock's sending to Dickens in the first place. Now that Lubbock has a new and larger jail, they want their inmates back:

As of Friday the Lubbock County Detention Center hold [sic] 105 inmates with more on the way. Chief Deputy Downes said all the federal inmates should be transferred by the end of next week.  "The Lubbock County taxpayers are seeing some return on what they spent on this facility," said Chief Deputy Downes.

But for Dickens County, a community of 2,700, having the federal inmates transferred has led to all 489 beds empty and more than120 jobs lost.

This comes after the privately owned company that operated the Dickens County Jail did not renew their three year contract and is in the process of transitioning the operation of the jail back to Dickens[.]

"We've been working diligently for the last 8 months to ensure this day would never come. Unfortunately it has," said Lesa Arnold, Dickens County Judge.

The Dickens County Judge said possible loss of the jail is not an effect of less inmates. It's also due to the economy and location.

"I think a lot of it had to do with geography. It was just closer for the U.S. Marshals to the court system in Lubbock," said Judge Arnold.

The Dickens County Judge will find out Monday if another private company will operate their jail. (Christie Post, "Lubbock County Detention Center offsets cost by receiving federal inmates from Dickens County," 10 December, 2010, KCBD.)

Check back here after next Monday for any news regarding if another private company will take over Dickens.

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