Grayson County commissioners approved Tuesday inmate housing contracts with Bowie and Fannin counties. Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum said contract for Fannin County had been tentatively approved by the Fannin County Commissioner’s Court pending a few small changes including a price increase from $45.50 to $47.50 per day per inmate. Bowie County, Bynum said, has yet to approve the contract Grayson commissioners approved Tuesday.

Grayson County commissioners approved Tuesday inmate housing contracts with Bowie and Fannin counties. Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum said contract for Fannin County had been tentatively approved by the Fannin County Commissioner’s Court pending a few small changes including a price increase from $45.50 to $47.50 per day per inmate. Bowie County, Bynum said, has yet to approve the contract Grayson commissioners approved Tuesday.


County commissioner Jeff Whitmire asked how often the county ships inmates out of county.


Bynum answered saying that the county has been very fortunate in the past couple of years to be able to house most of its own inmates.


"Interestingly enough, we have plenty of room to house male inmates. The problem we are having is today, believe it or not, is female inmates," he said. "That’s why these things (contracts with other counties) are critical that we get done," he added. Bynum said if the county jail goes over by one woman the space it has set aside for female inmates, it has to clear out an entire pod to house that one woman. It is cheaper to be able to house that woman at another county.


Grayson County Sheriff Keith Gary said he has no explanation for why the number of female inmates has increased, but the increase seems to be steady and his jail currently has five pregnant women as inmates.


"And that becomes a very expensive thing," Gary said.


"I appreciate what you have done with this," Gary said to Bynum. "It is something that we need from time to time. For instance we have an inmate over in Fannin County right now whose been there for six months I believe. We can’t put him in our jail here for reasons I won’t go into," Gary added.


He then said he would take any questions from the commissioners.


Commissioner David Whitlock asked if the county weren’t spending about $1 million a year about ten years ago to house inmates out of county. Gary agreed that the county was spending that much a year. The county renovated the jail on Crockett Street a little more than a year ago. The 96-bed addition was a 15-month-long process that cost $6 million and increased the jail beds to 480 including the minimum security space available at the North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field.


The budget commissioners passed for 2013-2014 set aside $50,000 to house inmates at jails outside of Grayson County. Tje county had the same amount of money budgeted for the last budget but was able to save it because the county was able to keep all of its inmates in the county jails. The county’s website shows the county spent $68,640 on housing inmates in other counties in 2012.