"The [state] jail is sitting right in the middle of the biggest development project in our city, so we've got to do something," Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm said.
But the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which owns the facility, has never relocated a jail at a city's request.
"Those are beds we need," said agency spokeswoman Michelle Lyons. "Absent the Legislature's direction, we have no plans to move this jail."
So those are at least two state-owned units which would likely face little local opposition if the state decided to close them. The Dawson state jail is in the district of soon-to-be-former state Rep. Terri Hodge, who opposed moving it largely because of where they proposed to build the new one. But if the state simply reduced capacity overall, there'd be no problem with siting a new facility.
I've long thought it'd be relatively easy for the Lege to take pressure off state jails, in particular, if they'd accept the bipartisan recommendation from Houston judges to reduce less-than-a-gram drug crimes to Class A misdemeanors (a suggestion then-House Corrections Chairman Ray Allen first proposed back in 2003, and which in more recent years has been championed by state Rep. Harold Dutton). If they did so, it'd be possible to close the Dawson State Jail, boost economic development in downtown Dallas, and contribute immensely to long-term budget savings across the board.