Infusion Of Inmates Will Keep County-Owned Detention Center Open

Limestone County Detention Center (CEC photo/file)

GROESBECK (May 8, 2013)—The privately-run, but county-owned Limestone County Detention Center has a new lease on a life after an old agreement was discovered that will keep the facility at least half full.

In late March more than 200 employees received letters from the company that runs the facility advising they could be without jobs come May 31.

The 1,000-bed detention center is operated by Community Education Centers or CEC, whose contract with the federal government to house inmates ends on May 31 because of automatic budget cuts.

The loss of the contract could have forced the county to close the prison, but under the old agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service, county officials were able to arrange for the transfer of nearly 500 Immigration and Customs Enforcement inmates to the facility.

The county now must find a replacement for CEC.

“We just need somebody to come in, run the facility and there's money to be made from it for them so we will find an operator,” County Judge Daniel Burkeen said Wednesday.

Limestone County has operated the prison in the past, but Burkeen said earlier this spring he doesn’t think it could maintain current job levels or pay rates if it were to take over operations again.