Ector County Employees Come Face-to-Face with Inmates Daily; One of Many Reasons to Build New Courthouse 9/13/13
CBS 7 News Reporter
September 13, 2013
Odessa - Ector County employees claim they are getting too close for comfort with inmates. Its one of many the issues Ector County employees say they face daily at the court house, that's why they're pushing for a new court house.
CBS 7 went along for a tour today; it's business as usual inside the courthouse, but you wouldn't guess what these employees must put up with on a day-to-day basis.
One employee pointed up to a rusted pipe overhead, saying that was one of many leaks in his office. This employee’s office happens to be down in the basement.
It's just a few of the sights CBS 7 got a look at today.
"It's things you don't normally see when you come for jury duty or a birth certificate," Ector County Judge Susan Redford said.
Another employee on the tour said his office was very cramped.
Judge Redford says they're hurting for space so bad that closets are now offices.
Something else you don't normally see, inmates walking down the same hall as you.
"We ran into a chain of inmates in the hallway who just finished their court appearance," Judge Redford said.
This creates an even bigger security problem.
"There have been cases where an inmate has snuck into the judges office and take items like pens and rulers,” Judge Redford said.
In any other courthouse, Judge Redford says proper holding cells would prevent this from happening.
A solution the county believes is the best option is a bond proposal for a new building. She says they'd prefer to keep it downtown. Ideally, they’d demolish what they're in now and make that a parking structure.
A bond has not officially been called for at this time.
The county is in the process of giving tours to several clubs today, so they can see first hand what it's like inside the courthouse.