State Gives Midland Green Light for Jail Expansion

MIDLAND - Midland Authorities now have the green light for Jail expansion, both from voters and state officals. Sheriff Gary Painter said he has good news after meeting with state jail officals in Austin on Thursday.

Two days after voters passed a bond to expand the jail, Sheriff Painter said we went to the jail standards commission to ask their approval on two key issues.   First, Painter does not want fire sprinklers installed inside inmate cells. He said that request was approved, and he told NewsWest 9 authorities should have plenty of smoke-removal equipment in case of a fire.

Second, Sheriff Painter asked if the expansion could allow 72 beds instead of the 48-bed maximum. Painter says that request was also approved.

"The one caveat that the Commission put on there is that we cannot violate the one guard to 48 inmate personell ratio, and I feel like we can accomplish that," Painter explained. "So, we're in good shape."

The 22-million dollar expansion will add beds, space, and it will be energy efficient. Painter said the best part is that taxpayers won't have to shell out big bucks to ship inmates to other counties to house.