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Commissioners to consider jail extention

Ector County Courthouse
According to the Odessa American, Ector County commissioners are considering an extension with Community Education Centers, Inc. to keep a federal jail in the Ector County courthouse.

Community Education Centers, Inc. (CEC) is a for-profit prison company that has been operating the jail inside the Ector County courthouse. In March of 2016, water and sewage began to leak from the jail into county offices, putting many official documents at risk and creating an unpleasant and potentially risky work environment for the employees. The water and sewage resulted from faulty pipes that had been blocked by federal inmates in the jail.

Ector County commissioners then instructed the maintenance team from the courthouse to seek help from CEC on repairs to the sewage pipes. CEC said that they would spend up to $15,000 on the repairs, even though the project was estimated to cost between $3 and $4 million. The county was working on an agreement with the company to pay for the damages, with the county judge proposing to send a demand letter to CEC for the cost of the damages. However, Precinct 2 Commissioner Greg Simmons said that the demand letter may send the wrong message to the private prison company. At the October 24th meeting, Simmons said, "I just don’t want it looking like we’re adversaries, ... It’s like somebody bumping into your car and agreeing to pay for it, then you hire a lawyer."

The agreement that Ector County hopes to renew for the federal jail was previously signed in July of 2015. As of now, there is no report on how long the extension will be.   

 

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