We are working on the Atascosa County jail expansion. We have 138 beds right now which is governed by the State Jail Standards Commission. The contracts and designs are done to expand the jail by 48 beds. We are, at this time, really in need of this. This is because if we exceed our authorized beds for prisoners we must transport prisoners to other counties and pay them for domiciling our prisoners. When the Atascosa Co. jail was expanded many years ago, the jail could take prisoners from other entities and be paid for the service. I am told the county used to make a lot of money doing that. However, the growth of the county, the increase in jail population for local needs has seen that go away. We are full constantly.
The new project is costing about $7.5M and will net 42 new beds. The reason for this is that the kitchen is at capacity and must be enlarged and some remodeling related to the increase in beds is required. A new roof is needed and should be done now on the existing jail. 42 beds will just get us where we need to be now with a little room for growth. We recently met with the Sheriff and the Jail Architect. We discussed the possibility of an additional expansion and the cost. It appears that once we made the costly adjustments related to the first expansion an additional 48 beds can be done for roughly 3M. Perhaps a little more. This could make the jail capacity such that it should last 10 to 15 years (hopefully). I am not a person to spend money where it is not needed or justified but I also believe that when we do something we should do it right. Meaning, we do what makes best sense. This just may be the cheapest time the county can add another 48 beds. This may be an excellent economic decision. So, we will be discussing the possibility of making the additional expansion.
Thanks for listening.
We want you to be proud of your county government.
Bob Hurley is the Atascosa County Judge. You may E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.