How Willacy Staff Provide Caring Custody to Detainees at the Willacy Facility

The Willacy County Regional Detention Facility in Raymondville, Texas, is all about providing caring custody for the detainees who stay there. Caring custody means everything from programming opportunities to cleanliness.

“What I like about this area, this place here, is it’s always clean,” says Raymondville Mayor Gilbert Gonzales, “and I mean spotless clean. I don’t mind coming over here. You could sit down on the floor and eat.”

Caring custody means caring about the community.

“They are involved in several of the events that we have throughout the year,” explains Mayor Gonzales. “I think they’re getting more involved as the years go by.”

Caring custody means doing the extras: Hosting concerts, providing popcorn in class, offering Zumba and other opportunities.

Christian Garcia is an academic instructor at the facility. “It’s just for them, something to enjoy,” he says, referring to the efforts the facility makes for the detainees. “They’re here. They already have enough stress of being here, having problems at home.”

Caring custody means providing programming—even when the facility isn’t required to.

Mayor Gonzales appreciates all the programs.

“As a city leader, I believe in second chances. I believe in third chances. They are teaching them. They’re training them. They’re educating them. They come out better than what they came in.”

“I think it’s just our culture to [ask] ’how can I make you better’?” Says Deputy Warden Rolando Trevino. “Once a detainee completes a program here at our facility, we’ll give them a certificate of which they use those to go to court, and they present them, ‘hey, look, I just wasn’t there doing nothing. This certificate proves that I completed this particular module, or the House of Healing, or anger management. It’s beneficial.”

Lorie Hernandez, a senior instructor at the facility, enjoys “giving them that praise, and [to have them say], ‘hey, you know what, somebody believes in me. Somebody is telling me I’m doing a good job’. To me, [it] is priceless to be able to see that on a detainee’s face; having somebody believe in them. The most rewarding part, I would have to say, is when detainees come up to me and thank me.”

About Willacy County Regional Detention Facility

Willacy County Regional Detention Facility is accredited by the American Correctional
Association—achieving over 100% compliance for mandatory standards in its most
recent audit. Other accreditations and certifications include the National Commission on
Correctional Health Care (NCCHC), and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).