By Alicia Neaves
REEVES COUNTY - We're learning more about an audit released by the U.S. Inspector General. It targets the Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos.
The 85-page audit was released Thursday. A lack of staffing and medical personnel are just two issues brought to light that are happening inside this West Texas prison. The 2,400 bed facility primarily houses immigrants who have committed "low-level" crimes, such as repeatedly entering the U.S. illegally.
Inside the report, it says the Reeves County facility and Correct Care Solutions, the company that provides healthcare services for the inmates, failed to comply with the Service Contract Act. The act requires employees working on federal service contracts of more than 25-hundred dollars not to be paid less than the wages and fringe benefits required by law. It also prevents contractors from underbidding each other by reducing wages or fringe benefits for employees.
The audit also identified almost $3 million that they say was, "...questioned as unallowable or unsupported, or believe should be put to better use".
They also found that between February 2007 and December 2014, the center was rated as "deficient" and "unsatisfactory" in half of their evaluation periods.
The evaluations said the facility "struggled" to meet minimum standards, received an unacceptable number of notices of concern, that the prison was unresponsive to Federal Bureau of Prison inquiries and struggled with staffing issues with medical and correctional employees.
The Bureau of Prisons did say the performance improved over time.
William McBride, the lawyer behind a lawsuit targeting the five private prisons in Texas says he met with 56 inmates at the Reeves County facility. As a result, he says, all were put in solitary confinement. He adds that the company that manages the prisons, The GEO Group, will not let him meet with any more inmates.
"One of the reasons they're not getting the medical attention they need in that facility is for profit because it costs money to have more staff, it costs more money to provide medical care. In my opinion, I believe The GEO Group is putting profit above the principal of basic human rights," said McBride.
The audit also criticized what's called the 'J-Unit', used for isolation at the facility.
The report says the unit lacks guidelines on what evidence is needed for an inmate to be placed there, procedures to ensure inmates receive due process and safeguards to ensure inmate rights are consistent.
In a statement, the Federal Bureau of Prisons says it, "...takes very seriously the recommendations of the Inspector General and is currently taking steps to address them. We are also considering revising internal policies and procedures to address quality control and Service Contract Act compliance."