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Lubbock County's New Detention Center: Vision to Occupation
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This article by Dan Corbin, CJM, and Malcolm Chambliss was originally published by the American Jail Association in American Jails magazine, January-February 2011 issue. It appears here by permission of AJA.

Corbin and Chambliss write,

The former Lubbock County Detention Center’s needs had surpassed what the facility could provide. Aside from various maintenance issues, administration’s major concern was overcrowding. As a result, in August 2000, then-Sheriff David Gutierrez and his staff, as well as County Commissioners James Kitten and Kenny Maines, attended the “Planning of a New Institution” program in Longmont, Colorado, at the National Institute of Corrections (NIC). At this program, they obtained valuable information on how best to proceed with developing the vision of a new facility into a reality. The first action plan was to hire a consultant who specialized in the planning, construction, and transition of new jail facilities.

In January 2001, a consulting firm was selected to assist with the project. The goal of the firm and Lubbock County to create a new detention center consisted of three principal objectives. The first was to conduct a needs assessment. This assessment would be used to accomplish the second objective: to program, develop, and design the new facility. The final objective was to establish a location and a preliminary cost estimate of the facility based on the program.

Citizens of Lubbock County voted overwhelmingly to pass the bond In November 2002, and the first group of inmates, who had been housed outside the county, was returned in July 2010.

Sheriff Kelly Rowe introduces the article by writing,

As I prepared my remarks for our ribbon-cutting ceremony, it occurred to me just how rare a situation this was. In my comments, I stated that no one ever enters into the profession of corrections thinking he or she will be directly involved in a jail design and construction project. Instead, most jail staff envision a normal career path that takes them up the supervisory ranks and ultimately to jail administration or even over to law enforcement. For my part, that was certainly true. However, when the conversation started and it became clear that Lubbock County had to act, my ideas about a normal career path changed.

In this article, the story is told of how Lubbock County Detention Center moved from recognition to needs assessment to obtaining funding and ultimately to design and construction. In the end, everyone who was involved directly, as well as the community, considered the project an overwhelming success. True, it was a collective and collaborative process for everyone in Lubbock County and the sheriff’s office, but the key was accessing resources from outside the jurisdiction, including tapping into the resources of the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), hiring an experienced consultant, and accepting offers of assistance from other agencies that had traveled the same road. One critical resource from the NIC is Facility Development Process, written by Dennis Liebert, Gail Elias, and James Robertson. Future project planners will discover that this publication takes a very complex process and breaks it down into a proven, step-by-step method that ensures a more manageable endeavor.


Posted Mon, Feb 28 2011 10:51 AM by Connie Clem


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