Jail overcrowding remains hot topic
By LPR Staff
Overcrowding at the Caldwell County Jail was once again the main topic of conversation during the Caldwell County Commissioners” Court meeting on Monday.
After an audit by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards gave official notice of the problem and demanded the county make a plan to solve it within 90 days, the Commis
sioners decided to meet with community and law enforcement leaders to try and trace the root of the problem. That meeting was held during the Commissioners” regular meeting on Monday.
“I don”t like that we went up there and told them that we were out of compliance and they came down here and audited us,” County Judge H.T. Wright said. “We”re not trying to ignore the problem, we just don”t know what to do.”
The Caldwell County Jail was built in the early 90″s and designed to house around 145 inmates. According to Sheriff Daniel Law, at that time, law enforcement and the County Commissioners thought the size of the jail would be sufficient to serve the county”s needs for 20 years or more. In fact, Law said, for a time, other law enforcement agencies were “renting beds” to house their prisoners in Caldwell County.
However, with changing times, an increasing population and ever-evolving state laws, the jail population has grown to an average of 200 inmates per day.
Questions abound as to how to solve the jail-overcrowding problem. In an effort to sort out the information and try to find a solution, the Commissioners formed a committee including nearly 20 community members, law enforcement officials, attorneys and judges. The group will begin meeting next month in the hopes of finding a viable solution to meet the State”s deadline.
In other Court business:
The Commissioners discussed whether to put Caldwell County back under an outdoor burning ban.
According to Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Parker, the Texas Forest Service released information last week indicating that most of the county is out of the “danger zone.” However, dry conditions continue to plague the southern end of the county.
Parker indicated that Guadalupe County is the only nearby county under an outdoor burning ban, and suggested the Commissioners leave the ban off for one more week.
Three Commissioners supported leaving the burn ban off. Charles Bullock, who represents the southern portion of the county, voted against the motion.
In brief Court news:
The Court accepted a bid from Leo Miller Roofing of Lockhart to repair damage to the roof of the Scott Annex Building.
The panel approved the sale of three properties that were seized for unpaid taxes.
They approved a grant allocation for traffic conviction reporting software for Justice Precinct 4. Two other Justice Precincts in the county already have similar software in place.
The county paid bills in the amount of $106,502.22, including $1,145 in indigent legal defense.
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.