By Tony Farkas
GROVETON — The Trinity County Jail has been granted a variance to allow it to house more prisoners, but the issue of too many prisoners in too little space still exists.
At the Trinity County Commissioners Court meeting on Aug. 22, Sheriff Woody Wallace told the court that the jail, which only could house seven prisoners, will now be able to house 15. However, some remodeling will need to be done.
Wallace said that he will need to spend $8,000 to put in beds and showers, and once done, the county will need to fund mattresses and other items.
Wallace did say that the inmate population is subject to court times and availability, and said that many court dates have been reset, causing a logjam.
The additional prisoners housed locally will mean the county doesn’t have to pay a fee to a nearby facility to house inmates. As of Aug. 22, the county had 46 inmates in custody. Additionally, Wallace said that many of the nearby counties have stopped accepting new inmates.
Wallace said that in July, the county spent $59,380 for inmate housing, $5,000 in transportation costs and $8,000 for inmate medical needs.
However, until the new beds are installed, inmates still will be held elsewhere; the county approved an interlocal agreement at the meeting for housing prisoners in the Grimes County Jail. The cost will be $75 per inmate per day.
In other business, the court:
•approved bond renewals;
•approved a constitutional amendment election for Nov. 7; and
•discussed budget items and the necessity of sending a preliminary budget by Aug. 31 to the state.