Running Out of Jail Space - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

01/05/04 - Nacogdoches

Running Out of Jail Space

by Donna McCollum

For the last two years Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss has warned commissioners that jail space will run out. Now with the jail population nearing capacity the message is delivered with more urgency.

"Some point in the future, it stands to reason that expansion is a must," warned Sheriff Kerss at Monday's county commissioner's court meeting.

Kerss is providing several solutions. Each suggests the construction of a stand alone facility to house either low risk men, women, state or federal inmates.

The county has one advantage. It owns six acres adjacent to the law enforcement center. The property is suitable for most any type of expansion.

Even with limited bed space the county continues to hold a state contract to house low risk inmates, but there's only room for thirty of the fifty inmates in the program. To drop the contract would mean lost revenue.

"Well obviously turning down $4-500,000 a year is a hard thing to do especially when you've had that income coming in, but with bed space becoming so critical it's one option commissioners must consider," said the Sheriff.

For now all proposals are on the table for consideration, but eventually a decision must be made.

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