SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – Hays County Commissioners have agreed to sign an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement to transfer overflow inmates to the Burnet County Jail.
For months the Hays County jail has been operating at capacity. Recently, Caldwell County indicated that it could no longer receive inmates from Hays County. That decision has pushed leaders to search for another jail to send inmates when other locations are also at capacity.
The Hays County Jail has only 362 beds, and jail staff says they are currently having to send around 150 inmates to surrounding counties. Hays County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Eric Batch says it was necessary to find a new option after Caldwell County said they could no longer house Hays County inmates.
“The other surrounding counties are at their maximum and we needed a nuclear option that would provide us with more space when we needed to move inmates out,” said Lt. Batch.
However, Batch says transporting inmates almost an hour and a half away is difficult. “It puts a strain on our transportation department because now we are busy transporting from county to court and we aren’t able to pick up other inmates from other facilities that need to come here,” said Batch.
Sending inmates to other jails is also costly. Each jail charges a fee ranging from $35 to $50 per inmate, costing the county on average more than $6,000 per week.
In April, the Hays County Commissioners voted to pursue a November bond election to finance a new jail. Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler called for the bond election, saying the jail needs upgrades to function and deal with the influx of residents into the county.
Batch says a new jail is really the only option to solving the problem of sending hundreds of inmates out of the county each year.