New Jail Coming to Gaines County?

by Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

Gaines County officials are in the planning stages for a new, larger, and safer jail. Law enforcement is running out of room at the current jail and spending a pretty penny trying to maintain it.

The current Gaines County jail was built about 35 years ago and houses 32 inmates. The new jail will be able to hold 96 inmates, officials say that's going to save the County a lot of money.

"I think it will save us money on housing out prisoners," Gaines County Judge Tom Keyes, said.

Gaines County currently sends inmates to Tarrant and Upton counties, and they're spending a $250,000 dollars a year to do it.

"The current jail was built under old standards," Keyes said. "The challenge is that the staff works under current standards for housing prisoners."

A bond package will be presented to Gaines County residents in November. Officials estimate the cost at about 10 million dollars. That's money that will be spent now, but the County hopes to make it back later.

"Extra beds will be available to the Counties around us who need space," Keyes said. "The money we've been spending will come home and stay home."

Judge Keyes tells NewsWest 9 if the bond passes, the new jail will be at 50% occupancy allowing plenty of room for inmates in this area.

Not only will this be a jail, but it will house every law enforcement office in the County, the Sheriff's Office, and the Texas Wildlife.

Gaines County officials hope to begin construction on the new facility in about a year.