County nears solution to jail overcrowding problem
By LPR Staff
In a series of special called meetings over the last month, the Caldwell County Commissioners and Sheriff Daniel Law have drawn closer to a solution to the jail overcrowding problem which has plagued the county for months.
Last week, representatives from the Texas Commission on jail standards and the county”s architectur
al firm attended to provide the panel information on what might be required to build additions to the Caldwell County Jail.
One of the least expensive plans, and addition of 100 beds in the form of 10 “multiple occupancy dorms” and 20 separation cells, is estimated at a cost of around $4.6 million. However, like any other option for expanding the jail, it would require the construction of an infirmary, which will cost around $536,000 more.
According to County Audtior Sonny Rougeou, this is the only option the county can really afford, in the short term.
Other plans presented included doubling the size of the existing jail and adding at least two additional dorms for women.
With the input from the other members of the jail overcrowding committee, including local politicians, citizens, law enforcement officials and district and county court personnel, the Commissioners are hoping to develop a plan for the jail that will not only meet the County”s immediate needs, but also address future growth of inmate population.
In other jail related news:
The Commissioners considered an agreement with Milam County to house inmates in the Milam County Jail. Currently, a portion of Caldwell County”s inmate population is being housed in Comal County, at the cost of around $55 per head per day.
The new agreement with Milam County will reduce that cost to $45 per man per day.
While paying bills during their regular meeting on Monday, the Commissioners paid $38,650 to Comal County for inmate housing.
The jail overcrowding committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 22. Members of the committee hope to be able to deliver a recommendation to the County at that meeting, or if not, then in the near future.
In other Commissioners” Court business:
Despite recent rains, the Commissioners opted to leave the outdoor burning ban in place. The panel”s intention is to protect the county through the Fourth of July Holiday, and a burn ban must be in place to enact a ban on certain aerial fireworks.
In brief news:
The Commissioners heard monthly reports from County Extension Agents Sarah Montgomery and Rachel Bauer.
County Judge H.T. Wright reported that Caldwell County spent $35,611.77 last month for indigent health care expenses.
The Commissioners discussed recent meetings with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) regarding the wetlands reclamation area planned on Plum Creek. During their last meeting with TxDOT, Caldwell County and City of Lockhart officials learned that TxDOT has made significant changes to the County”s request for the handling of the wetland reclamation area, including a reduction in parking spaces and wildlife trails. Negotiations on the project will continue.
The County paid bills in the amount of $109,963.
The Caldwell County Commissioners meet on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in Room 100 of the Caldwell County Courthouse.