Hays County calls for help handling overflow inmates

Hays County Jail (KXAN Photo)
Hays County Jail (KXAN Photo)

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – In November, Hays County voters passed a $106.4 million bond to go toward improving public safety facilities in the county. A large portion of that money is planned for expanding and updating the county’s jail.

The change to the jail is something Sheriff Gary Cutler has been pushing for over a year. He says the county continues to be one of the fastest growing in Texas, which means more inmates are being housed at the jail.

Cutler tells KXAN the jail can only house a little more than 300 inmates and sending them to surrounding county jails comes at a high price. Cutler says he is currently sending 171 inmates to other jails.

“I’ve estimated that it comes out to $49,000 a week and just under $200,000 a month,” said Cutler.

However, that price doesn’t include the cost of transportation, wear and tear on vehicles and overtime for deputies. “It’s very expensive,” said Cutler. “We are on course this year, I’ve totaled it up that we are between $2 million to $2.5 million this year.”

Tuesday morning, county commissioners agreed to allow the Hays County Jail to add two more counties, McClennan and Limestone, to the list of jails for overflow inmates. The two extra jails will accept 100 inmates in total.

“Our population, we’re steady over 500 now. We were at 521 a couple days ago and with Fourth of July weekend coming up, we want to make sure that we have places to house these inmates,” said Cutler.

The bond will add 300 more beds to the jail. Currently, the county is in the planning stages, but expects to open the new jail in 2019.

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