McLennan County is taking over the formerly private Jack Harwell Detention Center, and they're looking for people to help them run it more effectively.

The county's jail administrator Captain Ricky Armstrong tells our partners at News 10 that they're looking to hire around 100 people by August, and hopes to have operations underway by October.

Some staff currently working at Harwell are being considered, but the county is hosting a hiring event Monday, July 15 at the McLennan County Workforce Solutions Center of Waco, 1416 S New Road.

The takeover comes after Harwell failed its last three inspections while a contract with private company La Salle Corrections spiked to $2 million.

Armstrong and Sheriff Parnell McNamara feel confident the county can take charge of the roughly 700 inmates at Harwell (many of them federal inmate) and run the facility more efficiently and save between half a million and 1.5 million dollars.

"We're going to do everything we can to minimize problems at that jail, and there's been some in the past, over and over, we're gonna do the best we can to eliminate those and run the jail properly and we know how to do that," said McNamara. "We have administrative staff that has been at the jail for 25-30 years, so they know what they're doing, they know how to run the jail, they know how it should be run."

Harwell features nine classrooms in which Armstrong hopes to equip inmates will skills they can use as they reintegrate into society upon release.

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