By Tony Farkas
GROVETON — The Trinity County Commissioners Court discussed the current jail status and options for the future at a special meeting on Dec. 5.
Brandon Wood, executive director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, informed the county it was currently in compliance as far as its jail and plans for housing inmates.
Wood also presented some alternatives to use an existing building as a location for a new jail, as there is the possibility of using a defunct sewing factory as a shell for a new jail, or to build a new jail from the ground up.
The county has been discussing its jail facility, since the current one only can house seven inmates, but the county maintains an average prisoner population of 45. At one point, the county considered construction of a temporary housing facility, but County Judge Doug Page said the TCJS has shied away from a temporary facility.
Page said the consensus of the county was to look into a 48-bed facility to be constructed, mostly because of the cost, and the county hopes to get a bond issue together to present to voters in May 2023.
“We will probably present it to the people as a bond issue to build a 48-bed jail,” he said. “DRG Architects are drawing up plans as we speak, and probably will present those plans at the Dec. 27 meeting.”
A study commissioned earlier this year showed the overall need of a 96-bed facility; however, the county disagrees.
“When arrests for minor infractions are curtailed and the courts can catchup with COVID backlog of cases, a 48-bed jails should serve the county’s needs adequately,” Page said.