As the growth continues to come into Grayson County from the south and the local populations grown, so does the population at the Grayson County Jail.
Grayson County Chief Deputy Tony Bennie told commissioners Tuesday that population is still being contained at the Grayson County Jail but he can’t guarantee how long that will last. He asked for and received commissioners approval to house Grayson County inmates at the Titus County Jail for $50 per day per inmate.
While local officials are working together to make sure that they keeping the jail population down as low as possible, they also have to ready in case they need some place to house inmates quickly.
The county has 391 beds at the jail in downtown Sherman and 96 beds at the Low Risk Detention Center at Perrin Field. With 487 beds total, Bennie said the county is averaging around 430 inmates a week.
“Where we run into issues with housing is in the classification of inmates,” Bennie said. “Inmates are classified as low, medium, or higher risk offenders. We cannot house low risk offenders; therefore, we may have open beds that we cannot fill.”
Females pose another problem. They have to be housed out of sight and sound of the men who are incarcerated.
“If our female population is too high,” Bennie said. “We have to shut down a male pod to accommodate the excess females, leaving us short on male beds.”
Then they have to consider inmates who need to be housed in the male jail or in isolation due to a medical condition, he said. So, the situation is more complicated than just making sure you don’t have more inmates than beds.
Commissioners also approved a contract with Lubbock County for the Regional Public Defender program for capital cases. In 2019, Grayson County has $931,589 set aside for indigent defense. The county is liable to get about $91,000 from the state for indigent defense and the program with Lubbock County would cost the county about $66,538.
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said having an outside team defend those indigent cases where capital murder is charged rather than paying local attorneys to do so makes sense for the county and the defendant. The defendant gets an attorney with more experience working capital cases and the county saves money on the defense.