WACO, TX — Starting October 1st, the McLennan County Sheriff's Office run the Jack Harwell Detention Center, which is currently operated by LaSalle Corrections.
About a month ago, LaSalle sent McLennan County a letter stating that they were not going to renew their contract in October. Captain Ricky Armstrong of the McLennan County Sheriff's Office says they will now be managing the Harwell Detention Center and with that come changes.
"All of our lieutenants have twenty-plus years of experience. We know how to run jails, and I feel like we do a good job so I feel very comfortable with it. It's going to be a lot of work for us especially initially because we have to learn that facility. We go over there twice a month and walk through but now we have to operate it. So there is a learning curve but I am very comfortable with it," said Armstrong.
The expansion of duties will benefit inmates, allowing them to take part in programs that help them get back on their feet such as GED courses or taking classes related to counseling and even parenting skills. The new facility will allow these programs to expand.
Armstrong said the county was paying $8 million a year to LaSalle Corrections to run the facility. Now it will take $10 to $11 million for the county to run the facility on Highway 6. However, if the detention center takes on federal inmates, the county would be paid by the federal government for the use of the cell space. "With that revenue coming in, we are looking at saving half a million to a million dollars," said Armstrong.
Armstrong said they need to hire nearly 100 people to work at the facility. If you would like to apply click here.