Angelina County Commissioners Court approves jail expansion

Angelina County Commissioners Court approves jail expansion
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 2:29 PM CDT|Updated: May. 23, 2023 at 6:53 PM CDT
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ANGELINA COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Many counties are struggling with overcrowding at their county jails, including Angelina County.

On Monday, Angelina County commissioners moved forward to modify their agreement with the architectural firm to develop different design plans to expand the jail to help deal with a growing inmate population.

County Judge Keith Wright said the jail has not expanded in two decades and will look into different options that will increase capacity.

“In order to get these prisoners through the system and in order they can get a fair and speedy trial, we have to have capacity in every level.”

As of Tuesday, the jail has a total capacity of 279 inmates.

The architectural firm came up with two designs. A mid-scale design is estimated to cost $16 million, adding 172 beds to the current jail, and a large-scale design comes in at $19 million, adding 215 beds.

Commissioners had previously budgeted $13 million for the project to add over 120 beds. $10 million will come from the American Rescue Plans Act and $3 million from the county’s funds.

Commissioners will be looking into several funding options to help cover additional costs.

“We’re looking at some fund balances, some different settlement-type funds that we have to utilize. If we decide to go full capacity, we may do a loan,” said Wright.

Angelina County Sheriff Tom Selman said the sheriff’s office requests the large-scale design to help fit their needs.

“Right now, the proposal is just to add beds and a recreation area. Our current kitchen space and laundry space can easily handle the addition of 215 beds.”

Selman said if the county decides on the large-scale design, it will also help save cost.

“Naturally, as the jail gets larger, the price per bed goes down, and we’re going to need those beds in the future.”

There has yet to be a bid date, as the county is still in the plan and design stages.