Howard County Judge Hopeful For Jail Expansion - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Howard County Judge Hopeful For Jail Expansion

by Justin Kree
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - On Monday, the Howard County Commissioners Court will decide to add an expansion to the jail in Big Spring or to keep it the way it is.

"We've seen an influx of people and of course when you have more people, you have more people do criminal activity. We're not at a critical state but I know it's going to happen," Howard County Judge, Mark Barr, said.

Barr says that three or four times this year the jail reached capacity. A belief that was not foreseen just five years ago when the jail was built.

"No, I didn't think it would. I thought maybe in 10 years. The political climate at the time, a 96-bed jail made perfect sense," Barr said.

Barr says that the jail was built knowing an addition might be needed in the future. Men and women inmates cannot be kept together, which makes it more of a need for more beds.

"We've got beds for 16 females. When we built the jail, that was double the amount what we were housing back then," Barr said.

Sending inmates to other jails can be costly for Howard County. Adding on to the jail and overtime would reduce those costs.

"The contracts we have now, it's $45.00 a day for Mitchell County. It's a little higher for Lubbock," Barr said.

The judge feels an addition makes the most sense.

"You have to be proactive. You don't want to get in the position you're behind the 8-ball and you have to do something. I think you need to look down the road. It will cost less and you have a better plan," Barr said.

Currently, the jail does hold inmates from Glasscock County but we're told there are only a few of those inmates. 
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