The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which transferred most of its detainees out of Dallas County jails several months ago, is again holding a sizable number of prisoners in local jails, the Dallas Morning News says. Immigration officials yesterday transported 37 detainees to the Suzanne Kays Jail. The move signals a mending of the relationship between the Sheriff’s Department and federal officials, who moved the detainees after growing frustrated with Dallas’ unwillingness to meet some federal detention standards, such as preparing specific religious meals for detainees.
Sheriff Jim Bowles has earned between $2 million and $7 million a year for Dallas County over the last several years by housing federal detainees. The federal government pays the county $55 a day for each detainee, a rate set by the U.S. Marshals Service.
The Sheriff’s Department held an average of 192 federal detainees until late March, when immigration authorities moved many to Haskell County, about halfway between Fort Worth and Lubbock. The detainees are held for immigration violations or criminal charges that could lead to deportation.
A retired immigration official said the Dallas Sheriff’s Department had “this attitude that we needed them more than they needed us.” The official added: “All we were seeking was basic decency, and they seemed to manifest an attitude that these were worse than criminals.”