Expanded Midland County Jail Ready to Open Their Doors

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - It's out with the old and in with the new at the Midland County Detention Center.

After months of construction, the $16 million expansion is complete and there's a few greener changes inside.

"We have skylights in here to help conserve electricity if we need to turn the lights out," Midland County Sheriff, Gary Painter, said. "We have shower buttons whenever they push a button, it's a timed event so they only get so much water."

The facility's design has more space. The dormitories can hold 72 beds.

Sheriff Painter said it's not only good for the inmates but for guards too.

"It cuts down on the problems," he said. "It keeps the inmates, I think, in a safer place and it gives us the opportunity to monitor more of what they're doing."

The dorms have several phones and now inmates will do their own laundry.

They've also placed video visitation monitors inside the dorms to cut back on any contraband.

"There is no persons, no public allowed on jail grounds now," Sheriff Painter said.

But one of the bigger changes are classrooms right inside their living area.

"All they have to do is walk over there and we're going to teach them something," Painter said.

He said a whopping 85% of inmates released will come back.

"We need to try and change that and the only way to change that is through education," he said.

But they're not done trying to help just yet.

Re-construction on the old jail will start on Monday.

"It'll give us some new separation cells, it'll give us some medical cells, dental cells," Painter said.

Sheriff Painter hopes what goes inside these walls will give inmates a fresh start.

There's a public viewing of the new jail on Saturday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.