Ector County Commissioners meet about possible jail expansion

Ector County Commissioners meet about possible jail expansion

ECTOR COUNTY, TX (KWES) - The Ector County Commissioners court met Monday and heard a proposal for what would be the first extension on the jail

"There's never been an expansion," said Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson.

The Ector County jail moved out to the Law Enforcement Center in 1996, after spending time at the court house.

At the time the 667 bed jail was large enough for what they needed.

Today, they have 800 inmates, with 192 of them out at other counties, such as Scurry or Reagan County.

There's a possibility they will expand the jail, but it won't come cheap, as Donaldson says the extra beds and a new kitchen would cost a little over $16 million.

Donaldson said though they met Monday, don't get too excited because there's still a lot to be discussed before they even decide to expand, plus all the construction time.

"Let's put it this way," Donaldson said. "You're looking at, it's going to take two years from the time they say, 'Ok, go with it, we're going to do it.' So you're looking at two years before it's ever going to be built and finished and have prisoners in it, so you're two years away from anything."

The sheriff said part of the reason for the overcrowding is the bust in the oil business we are currently seeing.

He said usually, people would leave after the bust, but this time, they stayed.

"Well they didn't leave this time," said Donaldson. "They're still here. We're just in a situation we've got too many people going to jail. Felony cases, people getting arrested, it's just the back log."

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