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Bell County Jail still overcrowded, commission approves transfer agreement

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Posted at 10:50 PM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 23:50:34-04

BELL COUNTY — Bell County Judge David Blackburn said the county jail is still maxed out.

“The situation at the jail still continues to be more demand than we have supply. With more inmates coming into the jail than are leaving,” said Bell County Judge David Blackburn.

As of Thursday, more than 1,100 inmates were assigned to the jail and around 100 are being forced to do lock up in other counties.

This week, Bell County Commissioners approved an inmate transfer agreement with Comal County, making it the 6th county to house their inmates. Blackburn said they’ll pay $65 a day for each inmate.

Commissioners also approved hiring 15 more jailers, to beef up their staff as the population grows.

Blackburn said the commission is working to finalize issuing $138 million in new bonds to add hundreds of new beds and meet other needs.

However, any project will take at least a few years to complete. Until then it is just patchwork.

“We will probably be adding contracts with additional counties to house additional inmates,” said Blackburn. “These are the strategies that we’ve been employed to manage the additional populations as they come to us.”

Those bonds could be finalized by next month.