Ector County Jail Experiencing Overcrowding

Ector County Jail Experiencing Overcrowding

Zora Asberry

NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Ector County Jail is experiencing overcrowding and is currently at max capacity. With people coming in on a daily basis, officials are now looking for an additional place to hold their inmates.

"I just found out that they moved him and I didn't even have any idea. He was supposed to spend his time here but because of the overpopulation, and him having to stay for so long, they moved him without telling anybody," jail visitor, Eden Navarro, said.

The county is doing all they can to stay in compliance so that the ratio of deputies to inmates is even. That's why Ector County is having to find a place to hold their inmates so they can stay at or below capacity.

"Right now as we're speaking, we've got 667 inmates, which is our max. That number will fluctuate hourly because we'll have people released and we'll have more people come in. The thing that saved us is the County Attorney and County Judge is allowing us to plea out some of these cases," Sgt. Gary Duesler with the Ector County Sheriff's Office, said.

Currently, Ector County is keeping some inmates at the Lynn and Hale County jails. However, in order to do this, they have to pay $30 a day per inmate for Lynn County and $45 at Hale County where they keep women inmates.

"They're having to pay another county to house our inmates that are supposed to be in our county because they have too many," Navarro said.

"It's a cause factor that we have to pay them so much per day, just like it cost us. You have to feed them, you've got to house them, you've got to clothe them," Duesler said.

Officials say that the main cause for this problem can be attributed to the growing number of residents in Ector County and surrounding areas.

"Population goes up, the crime goes up. You've got some counties that have the same situation we do," Duesler said.

"More people are coming in, the more they're going to have to ship out, and before you know it, for an overnighter you're going to have to go to a different county," Navarro said.

Ector County would like to build another location or add to the already existing location in order to hold more inmates but that change is currently not in their budget.