Bell County commissioners approve another inmate transfer agreement
BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - Bell County commissioners have approved an inmate transfer agreement with Comal County to ease overcrowding in the Bell County Jail, which was at 90% capacity Wednesday, the maximum allowed by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
“Bed capacity is an issue,” said Jeff Buuck, a chief deputy at the Bell County Sheriff’s Department, “so, we are trying to leverage as many agreements as we can and when we find available beds we can use them.”
The county has worked out similar agreements over the years with Mills, Milam, McLennan, Burnet and Limestone counties to house Bell County inmates for a fee,
Bell County will pay Comal County $65 a day for each inmate.
On Wednesday, 77 Bell County inmates were held in jails in other counties.
The county’s problem isn’t unique.
Coryell County has faced similar issues and jails in Mills and Milam counties are now full.
Pct. 3 Bell County Commissioner Bill Schumann questioned the long-term feasibility of the transfer agreements.
“At some point all the jails are going to be where we are at and what do we do when we are full statewide?” Schumann asked.
Bell County commissioners in May approved $138 million in new debt mostly to fund the expansion of the jail.
Tuesday the commissioners also approved hiring 15 more jailers.
Buuck said the increase in jail population warrants the new hires.
The Bell County Jail currently has 190 jailers and 266 total employees.
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