State calls on County to ease jail overcrowding
By LPR Staff
The Texas Commission on Jail Standards has given Caldwell County 90 days to correct problems with jail overcrowding or risk losing the jail”s certification, County Judge H.T. Wright announced Monday.
A recent Jail Standards inspection of the Caldwell County Jail revealed that the jail is significantly overcrowded. Altho
ugh the Caldwell County Commissioners have been discussing methods of solving the population problem, the heat is now on. If the jail does not comply with TCJS regulations, the facility may be closed and the inmates moved to a compliant location.
“It”s hard for us to understand why [our jail population] is so much higher than the state average,” Wright said. Caldwell County averages 6.4 inmates per 1,000 county residents, more than twice the average set out by TCJS. Wright suggested that the problem with jail overcrowding could not be effectively addressed without understanding why the population is so high to begin with.
“It seems like jail time is so pleasant that inmates would rather serve their time than go through the hassle of being on probation,” Wright quipped.
During next week”s Caldwell County Commissioners” Court meeting, Wright and the other commissioners will meet with community leaders, law enforcement officials and residents in an attempt to determine the best way to solve the jail”s overcrowding. Options up for discussion include building temporary structures to house inmates, continuing to house inmates outside of Caldwell County and examining financing options to expand the existing jail facility.
In other Commissioners Court business:
The Commissioners discussed reinstating the outdoor burning ban, but opted to leave the ban off for one more week.
Commissioner Charles Bullock suggested that the ban be reinstated because of a number of grass fires in the Luling area last week.
“I think that the south part of the county didn”t get as much rain as the north end, and [having the burn ban lifted] is causing some problems down there,” he said.
Bullock”s motion died for a lack of a second, and the other Commissioners voted to continue to allow outdoor burning. However, Commissioner Tom Bonn suggested that the Commissioners might consider reinstating the burn ban next week if the entire county does not receive significant rainfall.
The panel approved the initial concept plan for the Turner Crest Ranch, a large, gated subdivision proposed between Maxwell and Martindale.
Initial plans for the subdivision showed that part of the property to be developed would be located in the City of Martindale”s extraterritorial jurisdiction. Therefore, Cooper Land Development, the conglomerate behind the project, opted to change plans and reduce the development. The current plan shows the development under the sole jurisdiction of Caldwell County.
Plans for the subdivision are available for public viewing in the Caldwell County Commissioners Courtroom, Room 100 of the Caldwell County Courthouse.
In brief Court news:
The Commissioners approved a resolution authorizing the county to participate with the Texas Department of Transportation in the reconstruction of a bridge over the San Marcos River on County Road 240 (Scull”s Crossing) near Martindale.
The county paid bills in the amount of $117,887.71, including $66,000 for out-of-county inmate housing, $11,157 for indigent health care and $18,429 for indigent legal defense.
The Caldwell County Commissioners Court meets on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in Room 100 of the Caldwell County Courthouse.