Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
Galindo, Homeland Security officials
to discuss use of RCDC for detainees
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., Aug. 19, 2003 -- Discussions about the use of the Reeves County
Detention Center III will once again be the topic of a meeting in Washington
between county and federal officials, though Thursday's meeting will be
with a different government agency than the one that county officials talked
to in July.
Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo will be traveling to Washington
tomorrow for a meeting with representatives of the Department of Homeland
Security about using the 960-bed RCDC-III, which was completed in March
and has so far filled only about 15 percent of its beds.
"I'm going to meet with several officials to discuss the possibility of
Department of Homeland Security using the RCDC-III," said Galindo.
The Department of Homeland Security was created in the wake of the Sept.
11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States and was directed by President
Bush to secure borders of the country to return any foreign nationals that
pose a threat to the security of the country. Several existing federal agencies
have been incorporated into the DHS, including the U.S. Customs Service
and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
"We believe we can assist in providing detention services for those purposes,"
said Galindo. "Securing the borders and detaining foreign nationals that
will be deported."
He said about five years ago, through a partnership with the Immigration
and Naturalization Service (INS), Reeves County established a video teleconferencing
contract with the Reeves County Detention Center. "The video teleconferencing
is used to conduct administrative deportation hearings for inmates serving
sentences up to five years," said Galindo.
Through the video teleconferencing courtroom, INS judges from Dallas
and El Paso conduct court proceedings. Inmates appear in court in the Reeves
County Detention Center courtroom without having to be transported elsewhere.
"This will offer Department of Homeland Security tremendous flexibility
in centralizing detention of foreign nationals to be deported," said Galindo,
who added that the judicial teleconferences can be conducted from any region
of the country."
Galindo, along with Commissioner Herman Tarin, RCDC attorney Bill Weinacht
and Washington D.C. lawyer Joe Summerall met with representatives of the
U.S. Bureau of Prisons in Washington last month, seeking an increase in
the man-day rate paid by the BOP to Reeves County for housing 2,000 inmates
in the RCDC I and II units. The county also was seeking additional inmates
to fill the 960 available beds at the RCDC facility.
In the end, the county agreed to a man-day rate of $47.32 and a one-time
payment by the BOP of $800,000 to the county. However, the agency declined
to place any inmates at RCDC III at the present time. Reeves County needs
the income from prisoners housed at the $40 million facility to make bond
payments, the first of which is due on Sept. 1.
Last week, during the regular commissioners court meeting, Galindo said
the DHS plan was one of four Reeves County was looking at in an attempt to
fill the beds at the prison.
"DHS estimated about 80,000 would be deported in the very near future,"
Galindo said during the meeting. "I have strong beliefs that the Department
of Homeland Security will have need of our beds in Reeves County."
The others involved additional BOP inmates and moving some from RCDC
I into RCDC III; acquiring inmates from the U.S. Marshal's Service or prisoners
from the State of Arizona.
The Marshal's Service already has about 100 inmates at RCDC III, and
Galindo said that number would soon rise to 140, with the possibility that
between 600 and 700 prisoners from Arizona and the Western District of Texas
could be housed in the prison.
Galindo said the Marshal's Service was paying up to $90 per day for housing
inmates in Arizona, "so if they use the RCDC they would cut their cost essentially
in half," he said.
With the BOP, Galindo said they were seeking to get the agency's OK to
move inmates from RCDC I into RCDC III. That would allow man-day rates to
go towards the bond payment on the new building and permit the county to
begin renovations on the 17-year-old RCDC I structure.
Galindo said the State of Arizona has looked at several other sites in
Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, but rated the RCDC III facility as it's best
"One of the very positive terms of the draft contract with the state of
Arizona is they're willing to pay for 90 percent occupancy," Galindo said.
Amendment election mail ballots offered
PECOS, Tues., Aug. 19, 2003 -- Applications for ballots by mail for the
Constitutional Amendment Election are being accepted until Sept. 5.
Deadline to accept an application will be 5 p.m., Sept. 5.
To request an application, call Dianne O. Florez, Reeves County Clerk,
Early voting by personal appearance in the election will begin Thursday,
Aug. 28 and end on Tuesday, Sept. 9.
PECOS, Tues., Aug. 19, 2003 -- High Monday 105. Low this morning 73. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 60s. Southeast winds 5 to
15 mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy with isolated afternoon thunderstorms.
Highs near 100. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy
with isolated evening thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 60s. Thursday: Partly
cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Highs 95 to 100. Friday: Partly cloudy
with isolated thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Highs 95 to 100.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise