Jail Construction Projects Recently Completed:
- Tarrant County, new 528-bed Green Bay unit, December
- Hidalgo County, new 453 bed "lockdown building," December
- Wise County, phase II completed, bed number unspecified, December
- Galveston County, new 1,170-bed jail nearly ready, inspection in March, scheduled to open in April.
Howard County was ordered to prepare plans for a new jail to present to the next Jail Standards Commisison hearing on May 4 in Austin, but Kathy Lusk, a citizen of Howard County, opposed an expansion. According to the minutes, Ms. Lusk raised issues about "renovations to the existing jail that had not been addressed," plus "a flat population (no increase in many years), taxing rate is at the maximum that it can be, so she doesn't know how they are going to fund the new jail. There are ongoing maintenance issues that are simple and routine and are overlooked, that may cause the jail to fail," said Ms. Lusk.
In Howard County, at least somebody is asking "How are we going to pay for all this?" With 11 jail construction projects underway statewide and 51 more in the planning stages it's worth asking, "How will Texas taxpayers pay to construct dozens of new jails, fix school finance, insure more kids, build more prisons, and lower property taxes, too?"
You'd think something has got to give.