Jail Overcrowding - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Jail Overcrowding

The Ochiltree County jail is near capacity.. An on going problem that is forcing the county to seek help to house inmates.

The jail has 32 beds and most of the time they are full... A problem officials fear will only get worse as the population continues to grow.

They have started making plans to relocate the inmates to the Dalhum-Hartley County jail for now... But it will cost.

"40 dollars a day. Plus we have the expense of moving those inmates to that facility and when nessaccary move them back to this facility. That's a pretty good chunk of money right there." County Attorney Bruce Roberson says.

While the county has set up a preliminary fix... It doesn't mean the problem is solved.

A new jail is needed...

Sheriff Terry Bouchard says, "Nobody wants to build a new jail but eventually it will have to happen."

Though county officials say is relocation is the best option right now.

Roberson says, "We can move lots of prisoners around for the cost of a new jail. When you compare that to the cost of a 10 million dollar jail. That becomes pretty inconsequencial."

So what role will tax payer play in the new system? so far... None... Officials say they have anticipated this for a while and have set aside funds.

County Judge Earl McKinley says, "Bear in mind we haven't spent any yet. We are just making plans, after it happens is not the time to make the plans. This is the first year that we have set aside money for transportation in our budget. We have had the money there but it hasn't been earmarked for that."

Officials attribute the overcrowding to the almost 45 day process time to transfer inmates from the jail to the state prison after sentencing.

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