Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Arizona seeks to ship 864 inmates to RCDC III
From Staff and Wire Reports
The Reeves County Detention Center III unit will be getting 864 prisoners from the State of Arizona, if a proposal announced last Friday by the Arizona Corrections Department to send over 2,000 prisoners to facilities in Texas and Oklahoma is approved by Arizona lawmakers.
The agreement, if passed, will help Reeves County meet bond payments on the $40 million RCDC III, a 960-bed unit which was completed a year ago but has until now has housed only a few inmates. However, the contract with Arizona would only be for a one-year period, according to the state's Corrections Director Dora Schriro.
The proposal would send 1,200 prisoners to Diamondback Correctional Facility in Watonga, Okla., and 864 prisoners to the Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos. Arizona plans to use the two out-of-state prisons for about a year to provide the state with breathing room until facilities in Arizona are expanded, Schriro said.
The 2,160-bed Diamondback prison is owned and operated by Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corp. of America. The 3,000-bed Reeves County facility is owned by Reeves County and operated by CGI, formerly Wackenhut Corrections Corp., based in Boca Raton, Fla.
Arizona's 31,000-inmate corrections system is currently short 4,200 permanent beds, and the state's Legislature in January approved a prison-expansion package negotiated by legislative leaders and Gov. Janet Napolitano.
The package authorizes 2,000 new permanent beds - 1,000 at existing public prisons and 1,000 at private ones - and the use of 1,400 to 2,100 "provisional" temporary beds outside the state, most likely at private prisons in Texas or Oklahoma.
Schriro told lawmakers earlier this week that the first 200 inmates would be transferred in mid-March and that the remainder would follow in the next several months.
Arizona first shipped inmates out of state a year ago, placing 625 inmates at a privately operated prison in Texas' Newton County.
"It's a short-term solution to a serious overcrowding problem," Napolitano said last week.
Meanwhile, work will start on adding the 1,000 additional public beds. They could be in use as early as July if they are minimum security - higher security classifications take longer to build - while the additional private prison beds should be available by January 2005, Schriro said.
With the opening of the new permanent beds, "I would anticipate by February of '05 we would start to shut down some of the provisional beds," Schriro said.
Reeves County originally built the RCDC III unit with the idea of housing U.S. Bureau of Prison inmates. Over 2,000 BOP inmates are housed under contract in the RCDC I and II units, but the federal agency said last spring it had no current need for extra bedspace in the southwestern United States.
Faces with bond payments of over $400,000 a month, and with the financing of RCDC III cross-collateralized with the other two prison units, Reeves County in November entered into an agreement with Wackenhut to manage the facility, and to help the county try to attract inmates for the RCDC III unit.
Last week, County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo announced that an agreement had been signed by BOP to increase the number of inmates and the per-inmate payment to the county for prisoners held in the RCDC I and II units. Under the new contract, Reeves County will be allowed over $2.2 million in profit and the recovery of the county's indirect expenses.
"Additionally, the per diem rate will be increased from $47.33 per inmate per day to a fixed-unit price of $48.25 for the first year of the new agreement, $49.70 for the second year and $50.69 for the third year. Furthermore, the Bureau of Prisons has agreed to increase the capacity of the Reeves County Detention Center Phase I and II from 2,065 to 2,300 inmates," Galindo said.
Enterprise to run primary candidates' profiles
The Pecos Enterprise on Monday will be running profiles of candidates running in contested local elections in the March 9 Democratic Party primary.
Letters were sent out to candidates this past Monday seeking profiles of 480 words or less, along with a photo to run with the profiles next week. Letters were sent to addresses or Post Office boxes of the candidates as supplied to Reeves County Clerk Dianne O. Florez' office.
Candidates in the contested races who have not received their letters can still bring in their profiles and photos to the Enterprise by 6 p.m. on Friday, or can e-mail them to email@example.com before Saturday in order to be included in Monday's paper.
Brookshire's job follows family tradition
By BRENDEN BRIGGS
Billy Brookshire is following in the steps of his father and cousin as he begins his career in law enforcement with the Pecos Police Department.
"I have always been interested in law enforcement," Brookshire said. "I like to help people, and I have always thought it was important to protect people that cannot protect themselves."
Brookshire took a position as a jailer at the Pecos Criminal Justice Center two years ago when it opened. Since that time, he has completed the police academy, where he received his peace officer license.
The license qualifies Brookshire to serve his community as a police officer, which he plans to do as soon as a position opens in the department.
Until that time, he enjoys his job as a jailer and serving as a reserve police officer.
Brookshire, or Billy Jack to his friends, also serves the community as a volunteer firefighter, a job that he has enjoyed for the past three years. His father, Jack, is the Fire Marshal for the Town of Pecos City and Reeves County.
A Pecos native, Brookshire graduated from Pecos High School. Throughout school he worked, first with B and B Wrecker, then later at the State Theatre. Brookshire worked at the theatre from its opening in 2000 until its closing last year.
He chose to start as a jailer for his first taste of law enforcement. "Working at the CJC has taught me how to keep myself safe, and talk to people, two very important qualities to becoming a police officer."
Growing up in Pecos, Brookshire attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the 10 years he was in the organization before leaving the Scouts to take his place in the work force.
Working at the CJC, has allowed him to improve his marksman ship, a talent he began developing as a scout. "We shot rifles, shotguns and pistols, but since I started working here at the CJC, I have improved my pistol accuracy." According to Brookshire, the correction staff at the CJC qualifies once a year, and at Brookshire's last qualification he shot 239 out of a possible 275, a sizeable improvement over his score last year.
His time at the CJC has not been all peace and quiet. On three occasions he remembers having to get physical with violent prisoners in order to get them to their cell.
"We had one guy, who had already been pepper sprayed before he was brought in, jump my sergeant as he was trying to take the guy to the shower. We heard the commotion, and saw this rather large guy wrestling with my sergeant. Both me and the other jailer jumped in to try and subdue the guy, but even with all three of us on his, it took some time before we could get this guy under control."
High Wednesday 59. Low this morning 33. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows near 40. Southeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 70. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Lows 40 to 45. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 60s. Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows near 40. Sunday: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Highs in the lower to mid 60s. Sunday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise