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Friday, October 7, 2022
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Dallas County Considering Building New Jail


Interior of a pod in the Dallas County Jail | Image by WFAA

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The Dallas County Commissioners Court decided to launch an exploratory committee that would evaluate how best to address the county jail’s recent failed state inspection, whether that means renovating the building or constructing a brand new one.

The state inspection determined in 2021 that Dallas County jail had allegedly been failing to provide prisoners with paper to write to their lawyers, denying them exercise and showers in some cases, and missing deadlines when processing inmate grievances.

Inspectors also reportedly discovered that inmates had broken jail doors, some inmates’ laundry was allowed to go unwashed, and observation logs for suicidal inmates were out of compliance with state requirements.

Additionally, as reported in The Dallas Express, former jailers have alleged that the jail operated at a code-violating ratio between inmates and guards (approximately 64 to one, respectively) at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The jail is reportedly at 88% capacity with over 6,300 reported inmates.

Despite the jail not being at capacity, reports have stated that it is more crowded than usual due to a backlog of cases that has resulted in significantly longer wait times for inmates to be released on bail or transferred to different facilities.

One report estimated that as many as 2,000 cases are backlogged, leading to an extra 1,000 inmates in jail.

The prison costs a reported $12 million monthly to maintain staff and upkeep, making it Dallas County’s largest expenditure of taxpayer money.

Commissioner Elba Garcia commented, “It’s the right time to [reassess the jail] if we want to look into the future. We have a dated criminal justice system, we need to be sure that we incorporate new jail standards.”

She added, “It is a facility that has seen wear and tear. It is a facility that outlasted what it was supposed to.”

The commissioners court exploratory committee will inspect all aspects of the prison, including costs of building maintenance, operations, the facility’s layout, and staffing.

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1 month ago

Why waste the money? The present leaders of Dallas county demand that criminals arrested by police officers are released without bail within hours. I suppose the new jail will be used to hold alleged tax evaders that the new 87,000 new IRS agents will arrest.

Reply to  caseyp
1 month ago

Why do you continue to spread mis-information? The article clearly says the reason for overcrowding is because of the back log of cases and the long wait times for bail release. No where does it say county leaders are demanding release within hours. Yet you want to lead readers to take your OPINION as fact. Tax evaders are criminals too.

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