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157 To Be Laid Off At Willacy Co. State Jail by CoreCivic

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RAYMONDVILLE - The corporation that manages the Willacy County State Jail announced they will now layoff 157 of the 183 employees at their facility.

CoreCivic once operated under the name “Corrections Corporation of America,” or “CCA.” The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) didn’t renew its contract.

Robert Hurst, TDCJ spokesperson, said it was a matter of competition.

“On June 30, it was announced at the Texas Board of Criminal Justice meeting in Austin that LaSalle [Southwest] Corrections was awarded the contract to provide operation and management of the Willacy County State Jail,” said Hurst. “The contract is a two-year contract base with three two-year renewal option periods. The previous vendor was CoreCivic. Contracts are awarded through a competitive bidding process.”

CHANNEL 5 NEWS obtained a notification letter sent to the Texas Workforce Committee from CoreCivic. The letter reads, “Despite our best efforts, CoreCivic’s contract with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is ending…,” and “... CoreCivic must layoff of its employees at that facility beginning midnight, Thursday, August 31, 2017.”

The city of Raymondville is no stranger to job loss. The Willacy County prison closed in 2015 after prisoners rioted and Wal-Mart closed its doors in 2016.

Steve Trevino was once a correctional officer at the Willacy County state prison before it closed. He told CHANNEL 5 NEWS he now works for the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, but experienced months of unemployment before he finally found a permanent position.

Trevino offered words of encouragement to those who will be affected in the transition from CoreCivic to LaSalle Southwest Corrections.

“The best advice I would give them is just to apply for jobs,” said Trevino. “Workforce. Workforce helps out a lot.”

The job titles of those affected were redacted from the letter we obtained. Willacy County Judge Aurellio Guerra has seen the effects of job loss on the county he serves.

“We’re hopeful that they will rehire the same employees that are there now,” Guerra told CHANNEL 5 NEWS. “And perhaps they can create even more openings or more jobs for our local residents.”

CHANNEL 5 NEWS is still working to determine if LaSalle Southwest Corrections plans to rehire any of the 157 people to be laid off. 

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