Women Inmates Overflowing At Potter County

Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas
Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas

Megan Moore
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - From farming out to other counties, to ankle monitors, Potter County is scrambling to figure out a solution to a female inmate overcrowding problem.

The sheriff says with the holidays approaching, he expects more inmates at the jail.  That is why he says now is the time to act.

By law, the female pod at the Potter County jail can have no more than 96 beds.

Right now, 83 of them are full, so "I've got a little breathing room right now, but that could change tomorrow, or over night," says Sheriff Brian Thomas.

But, "even though we have 96 beds for females, depending on their charges or past histories that's how we classify them so we don't want to put low risk inmates with high risk offenders," says Captain Roger Haney, jail administrator.

One of the ideas floating around to alleviate the crowding here at the jail and to cut costs is ankle monitors...at the expense of the offender.

Thomas says, "we reduce their bond, and they pay for that as well, along with the initial set up, they have to pay for it per day."

Thomas says that would save the county $42 per day per inmate and free up bed space.

Another idea is housing inmates in Childress County, but that comes with some problems.

Thomas says, "you've got a two hour drive there, a two hour drive back, if they get sick we have to go get them and take them to the hospital."

It also costs Potter County $35 per day. Thomas says he plans to go ahead with that contract, but hopes to not have to use it.

Just a word about the reason for the overcrowding: the jail administrator says there really isn't one.  Women are not committing one crime more than any other.