Friday, May 05, 2006

State to Harris County: Pay the piper for overincarceration

At yesterday's hearing, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards ordered Harris County to relocate 500 prisoners to contract housing - at going rates that'll cost about $30,000 per day ("State tells packed jails to transfer 500 inmates," May 5, Houston Chronicle).

Renting space in other counties for five hundred inmates would immediately leapfrog Harris County to the top of the list of counties with the most prisoners housed in contract beds. Until now, Smith County headed the list statewide with 257 inmates in rented beds (
as of April 1), 176 from Lubbock, 116 from Parker, 101 from Fort Bend. Here's the full list (pdf).

Five-hundred beds sounds like a lot, but we're talking about a 9,000 person jail. Harris County judges could reduce the jail population that much if they quit sentencing probationers unnecessarily to county jail time.

See past Grits posts on the causes of overincarceration at the Harris County jail, and suggested, non-jail building solutions to overcrowding.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's not overcrowded in thet jail, they just refuse to hire enough jailers to staff it. The ones they hire, quit almost immediately, after being treated worse than the inmates.
Deputies are leaving like rats on a sinking ship, due to the oppessive regime of the current Sheriff.