Riot brings financial crisis

RAYMONDVILLE — Some top stories of the year are quick hitting and remain in the headlines a short period of time.

Others leave lasting effects in their wake.

WillacyCounty experienced the latter in 2015.

An inmate uprising destroyed much of the so-called tent-city prison, plunging WillacyCounty into an economic crisis that will continue to unfold in 2016.

On Feb. 20, complaints over medical care led about 2,000 prisoners to riot, setting fire to tent-like domes at the WillacyCountyCorrectionalCenter.

The destruction left the prison “uninhabitable,” leading officials to transfer 2,834 inmates before shutting down the prison that cost $60 million when it opened in 2006.

By mid-March, the Federal Bureau of Prisons terminated its contract to hold inmates in the prison, which had paid the countyfor every inmate it held.

The prison’s closure slashed $2.7 million from the county’s $8.1 million general fund budget, leaving the countywith a monthly revenue shortfall of $220,000.

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