New jail now housing inmates
Parmer County facility capable of housing 48.
The new Parmer County Law Enforcement Center, which cost just under $3 million, is now housing inmates.
The 48-bed facility, which officially opened for habitation on March 24, holds 28 more beds than the old jail.
Because the new facility is state-of-the-art, and because of overcrowding at jail facilities in surrounding counties, inmates from Curry and Roosevelt counties are being housed there in addition to Parmer County inmates.
As of Tuesday there were three Curry County inmates at the Parmer County jail, said Don Burdine, administrator of the Curry County Adult Detention Center.
Parmer County Jail Administrator Wayne Gruben said he expects 11 more Curry County inmates to arrive today.
Gruben said the old jail, located within a few yards of the new one, will more than likely be remodeled for administrative purposes and storage. He said Parmer County commissioners will decide the old jail’s fate.
The new jail has separate hallways for male and female inmates, which complies with Texas law mandating that the two genders be kept from within view of each other.
It also has two separate doors to each of the cell blocks, so only one can be opened at a time to prevent inmates from escaping.
“The new building is about 19,000 square feet,” Parmer County Sheriff Randy Geries said recently.
In addition, the new jail has a medical room, a new laundry room used for bedding and inmate uniforms, and a separate kitchen with storage and a walk-in refrigerator.
Blocks of eight-bed cells meet all the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, along with smoke detectors, smoke removal ventilators and a sprinkler system.
Unlike the old jail, hot water systems are installed throughout the entire law enforcement center, which also has a lobby, public bathrooms and offices for the sheriff and other personnel.
The inmate exercise area is enclosed inside the center and has a steel-reinforced ceiling accompanied by a security window that safely allows fresh air to circulate.
Two detox rooms and two holding rooms, a booking room and a library-church-classroom also have been built into the center.
The former jail lacked all these new perks.
Most notable to personnel who operate the center, however, is the control room, which has three monitors that allow them to view any cell block at any given time, along with entranceways.
The control room also serves as a center from which any door can be closed or opened, Geries said.
Initial construction of the building began last May.
It is being paid for with a combination of a type of obligation bond and an ad valorem tax, Geries said.
“Much of the expense is in security,” he said. “There is a lot of concrete in this building.”