Critical Inquiry of Under-Staffed West Texas Prison

Troubled with riots Inspector general report serious of West Texas federal prison

A federal prison in West Texas, which has become the scene of several inmate revolts, has come under inquiry for issues including lack of staffing.

Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos initially houses ‘low-level’ immigrants, within its 2,400-bed facility, who have come to America illegally.

The facility, which consists of two compounds, is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and has been running since 2003.

Following the death of an inmate in late 2008 and two riots causing an estimated $1 million in damages, the prison has come under thick inspections. The GEO group, which commenced running the center in 2003, will end its contract in 2017.

Before the riot in 2009, the prison had limited its staffing as a way of saving costs. The riot was the second, which occurred after one of the inmates had died of an epileptic seizure while they were placed in solitary confinement.

Staffing was increased after the 2009 riot by more than 90 per cent. However the prisons health services unit continued to get short-staffed. As from December 2010 to December 2013, the unit had experienced a shortage of health service staff for three years.

The GEO Group uses a subcontractor to hire staff for its health services, however, they have been given an encouragement to accept Bureau of Prisons suppositions for health service vacancies rather than fill the empty positions with costly market rate workers.

A Justice Department Inspector General report was released on Thursday claiming the private contractor and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons must address numerous issues including, but not limited to, not having enough staffing members.

The report had made 17 recommendations, including specific guidelines and saying it disagreed with how certain units were portrayed.

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