Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Texas' new, state-of-the-art jail unfit for prisoners?
by Rucks Russell / KHOU
Posted on August 5, 2010 at 10:12 AM
Updated Thursday, Aug 5 at 2:01 PM
PEARLAND, Texas—Pearland’s sprawling new public safety building includes new courts, offices for police and administrators, and a state-of-the-art jail that remains unfit for the prisoners it was meant to house.
"We just want to be able to use the new facility," said Lt. Onesimo Lopez, public information officer for the Pearland Police Department.
The new building opened its doors in April, but while hundreds of workers moved in, prisoners have remained locked out.
Officials blame the holdup on construction flaws by the contractor.
"Our holding area for intoxicated suspects needs a drain, and the door for another holding area opens the wrong way," Lopez said.
Pearland’s city manager said a dispute between the city and the contractors set the project back.
"It’s been a back-and-forth in terms of who’s responsible for what," City Manager Bill Eisen said.
He added that the differences were recently ironed out and hoped repairs to the facility could be made within four weeks.
But the work will cost about $15,000 -- that’s in addition to what it costs to keep the old jail running, and the $19 million already shelled out by taxpayers for the new building.
"Ultimately, the buck stops with me," Eisen said.
But for now, it also stops with the taxpayers.
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