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Hays County Jail Soon to Exceed Capacity

todayMarch 31, 2014 9

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Hays county jail
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    Hays County Jail Soon to Exceed Capacity

With San Marcos and Hays County being the fastest growing area in the country, there is a greater demand for beds in the Hays County Jail.

Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler says the current jail population of about 300 inmates is manageable, but a recent study revealed that the jail could exceed capacity soon. By the year 2020, Hays County could need as many as 600 beds, and a decade later, that number could be almost a thousand.

 

San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams says that the maxed out facility affects his police force, who has taken steps to minimize the number of people being put in jail and create a high turnover rate.

 

“We really are in pretty dire straights when it comes to our jail population.”
Howard Williams

 

The county has faced overcrowding issues before. Three years ago, prisoners were outsourced to Seguin in neighboring Guadalupe County. This costs taxpayers around $50 per day per inmate, not including gas and other costs. Cutler says space is not the only concern, and the aging jail has had some wear-and-tear over the years.

 

“The mechanics in the jail back there, the doors, the control panels and all are 25 years old. So that’s a very big concern to us because these things are wearing out – not from abuse, from use.”
Gary Cutler

 

Cutler says repairs cannot be done now due to a lack of space to move inmates around. Guadalupe County has agreed to help again if it comes to outsourcing inmates.

 

Jail officials are working with Hays County Commissioners to either expand the current jail facility or build a new one in the same location.

 

Commissioner Ray Whisenant said that the end result, whether the county outsources, expands the current facility, or builds a new jail, will be up to the voters within the next year.

 

Tara Pohlmeyer, KTSW News

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