It was bad news for the 140 employees of the Jim Rudd Unit Transfer Facility on Monday, October 11, when it was announced to employees that the facility would be closing at the end of the month. Management cites difficulty in keeping Correctional Officers as a reason for the closure.
Robert Hurst, Public Information Officer for Texas Department of Criminal Justice, sent this quote by email. “The Rudd facility holds only a small number of parole intermediate sanction inmates with just over a 100 prison inmates for unit support. TDCJ has ample capacity elsewhere in the state to house these inmates.
“The facility will be depopulating by November 1. Most of the parole intermediate sanction inmates will be completing their terms during this time. New parole violators will be sent to another facility. The remaining inmates will be relocated to other units throughout the state.
“There are about 140 employees at the Rudd facility. It is anticipated that most of the staff will transfer to vacant positions at the Smith Unit in Lamesa. Others could transfer to the Montford Unit in Lubbock.”
The facility was established in 1995 just south of Brownfield. It has a capacity of 612 inmates. There are 105 Security Employee positions.
Late Monday evening, BIDCorp Executive Director Brian Brisendine was already working on setting up a Job Fair for these displaced employees, as well as others seeking employment in Terry County. Brisendine stated, “Any time we lose jobs, it has a negative impact on our community as a whole, but Brownfield has weathered similar storms in the past, and I have confidence in our ability to do so again.”
Brownfield ISD Superintendent Chris Smith, who has been working with Brisendine on the Job Fair plan, stated, “Our long range plan at BISD has always included a plan to educate and train, not only our students, but our community, as well. We have been working with BIDCorp to get equipment and material to train adults in the community to become more marketable. We are just waiting for the school to be finished, and we will start offering adult classes.”
Brisendine added, “BIDCorp is committed to promoting Brownfield and looking for other opportunities for our citizens. Our efforts to partner with BISD to establish and adult education program will prove vital to our economic health.”
No date has been set for the Job Fair.
City Manager Jeff Davis stated, “This is not good news for the City of Brownfield. It will certainly be an economic blow for the city and county.”
Judge Butch Wagner received an email from Jason Clark, who is the Chief of Staff for TDCJ. The email stated, “I wanted to update you on the Rudd Facility in Brownfield. TDCJ is experiencing a significant staffing shortage across the state but it is particularly acute in your region.
“To help supplement staff at the Smith Unit in Lamesa where we only have 34% of our correctional officer positions filled, the agency is temporarily idling the Rudd Facility and reallocating staff to the Smith Unit.
“The transition will begin November 1, 2021. All employees will have jobs available to them.
“We will continue to maintain the facility in Brownfield, so we can potentially reenter when staffing improves. Leadership is meeting today with employees to inform them of the plan.”
TownTalk Media will stay on top of this story as it develops.