The reason? The courthouse is located downstairs, and therefore downstream, of the Ector County Correctional Center. Faulty pipes and blocked toilets by federal prisoners — incarcerated for a profit by private prison corporation Community Education Centers (CEC) — are contributing the flooding problems in the public courthouse downstairs.
The problem is impacting the working conditions of courthouse employees and endangering the public records kept at the courthouse. It's become so severe that county officials have taken to covering public documents with plastic to keep them from getting wet.
The county's contract with CEC, according to the story, says that minor repairs are to be handled by the company while major repairs will be handled by the county. This makes sense, but if CEC is profiting from its contract with the federal government to detain federal prisoners, one would think that it should also have to pay for the damage that contract causes to the public offices that sit below it.