Grayson County commissioners approved Tuesday the addition of five new part-time contract workers at the Grayson County Jail. Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum said the additions were needed to help speed up the judicial process and keep people flowing through the county jail. The additions are expected to cost the county between $100,000 and $125,00 per year.

Grayson County commissioners approved Tuesday the addition of five new part-time contract workers at the Grayson County Jail. Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum said the additions were needed to help speed up the judicial process and keep people flowing through the county jail. The additions are expected to cost the county between $100,000 and $125,00 per year.


The need, Bynum said, is great because the county has had to start looking at sending inmates out of county to be housed in other jails again. Commissioners said at one time the county was spending up to $1 million a year to house county inmates at other jails. Then the county spent $6 million to remodel the county jail. That kept the jail population problem down for a year, but now the jail population is creeping back up, due in part, to the increase in female inmates.


Grayson County Sheriff’s Capt. Roger Braziel told commissioners that the jail’s population on Tuesday was 427 inmates, including 90 women. He explained that if he has one more woman to house than he has space for in the beds set aside for women, he has to clear out an entire pod of men to make room for one woman. "They have to be separated from (men by) sight and sound," Braziel explained. It is less expensive, Braziel said, to hire additional security officers to work in the jail because it frees up county jail staffers to take inmates to the courts.


Bynum said he was at the Grayson County Justice Center recently and watched what is called a jail chain. That is a process by which prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, jail staff and court staff all work together to get inmates through the system. The problem with the jail chain, District Judge Jim Fallon said, is one of timing. He explained that on Fridays he does arraignments which are generally an inmate’s first court date after an innmate has been indicted. Often, Fallon said, the inmate may want to discuss the case with the prosecutor and defense attorney at that first date and clear up the case. Fallon said that is especially true if probation is being offered by the prosecutors because that means the inmate could go ahead and get out of jail. But law requires that a jailer bring up no more than four inmates at a time. If two inmates want to talk with attorneys, then the other two have to sit and wait to go back down to the jail. That also means the jailer can’t bring any more people up.


Fallon explained that gets costly because he could have attorneys in the courtroom waiting to speak to clients who are in the second or third set of four. Those attorneys could have to sit there for an hour or more while they wait for their client to get into the courtroom. Fallon reminded judges that defense attorneys are paid $75 an hour for court time. He said having more than one jailer would mean that one could take the inmates who are finished back down to the jail and bring up more inmates, thus moving the process along faster. That saves money in two ways, he said. First it cuts down on the time attorneys have to spend waiting to work with their clients. Secondly it allows more inmates to work out their cases and get either out of jail or on their way to prison. That clears out beds in the county jail.


Braziel said even on days when there are not that many inmates headed to court, his staff could use the extra help in the jail because those additional contract workers can be used to free up jail staff to do things like the paper work required to process a person from the county jail to state jail or prison.


Commissioners seemed to agree with the points stated by Braziel and Fallon because no one voted against the measure.


County leaders also approved:


• declaring a list of property surplus and ready for sale at auction;


• road bores at Pop Noah Road and Crossroads Road in Precinct 3;


• salary adjustments for three WIC employees.