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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Commissioners Court approves $17.5 million dollar budget for private prison

Hays+County+Historic+Courthouse

Hays County Historic Courthouse

At its August 16 meeting, the Hays County Commissioners Court approved a $17,500,000 budget to outsource housing for inmates in Hays County over the next four years.
The motion, sponsored by Commissioner Walt Smith, comes in response to the overflow of inmates at the Hays County Jail.
Initially, discussions of moving some of the inmates to Oklahoma or Louisiana due to a lack of options surfaced. Instead, the focus shifted to collaboration with other counties in Texas.
It was after reaching out to counties in hopes of helping relieve the surplus of inmates from the Hays County Jail, that LaSalle Corrections West LLC, which operates out of Haskell County, offered a solution to the members of the court through a proposal.
The approval of this agenda item will eventually lead to the execution of an Intergovernmental Inmate Housing Agreement between Hays County, Haskell County and LaSalle Corrections West by providing care and custody for the inmates displaced by the overflowing prison.
Jordan Powell, assistant general counsel, broke down the expenses of housing inmates at the LaSalle Corrections facility for the court.
“It is about 95 dollars, per inmate, per day,” Powell said.
This covers most medical costs, including routine medical checks and medications, as well as the transportation costs required for moving an inmate from one prison to another. The funding would come from the American Rescue Plan, as well as tax-payer money.
The transfers begin as early as next week, starting with 100 inmates this year, and a goal of expanding to 200 in 2023 and 2024.
Not all members of the court were in agreement with this plan.
In contrast with the idea of outsourcing the help they need, Judge Ruben Becerra suggested the money be used to encourage new staff at the existing prison by offering them “high-dollar signing bonuses.”
“Instead of giving $10,000 a day to a private organization to house our neighbors, perhaps we could use the money to turbo boost the pay for these corrections positions,” Becerra said.
Despite Becerra’s dissenting opinion, the court voted to approve this proposal in a 4-1 decision, with Becerra being the opposer.
The Hays County Commissioners Court meets at 9 a.m. on select Tuesdays each month. For more information on the Hays County Commissioners Court, visit its website.

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