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February 2011

Two troubled former GEO jails continue to sit empty

Two  former GEO Group-operated jails - the Bill Clayton Detention Center in Littlefield and the Dickens County Correctional Center - continue to sit empty more than 2 years after being closed in the wake of suicides by Idaho prisoners.  A story last week by KCBD ("Taxpayers held prisoner by their own prisons," February 3).

About an hour from Lubbock, the Bill Clayton Detention Center in Littlefield hasn't had a single inmate in the last two years.  "This was not built to house local inmates; it was built to house inmates from other parts of the state or other parts of U.S. It was built to bring economic development to the city of Littlefield," said Danny Davis, Littlefield city manager.

For a while it did bring money into Littlefield, until the State of Idaho decided to remove its inmates from the center when the economy tanked back in 2009. "Everybody was cutting back it seemed, and it was very difficult to find other inmates from out of state to come in and fill the facility," said Davis.