Overcrowding issues and old-fashioned technology: Hays County sheriff pushing for new jail facility
SAN MARCOS, Texas - If you take a tour of the Hays County Jail, you might be surprised to find out, they're not operating on the latest cutting edge technology.
"It's a 26-years-old, and the technology put in it, was put in 26 years ago," said Sheriff Gary Cutler, Hays County.
Old-fashioned-wiring, old monitors, and 80s style control boards plague the booking area of the jail. But despite the outdated systems, Hays County has made some strides. Some of the improvements are their new video calling option and a digital canteen.
"We've really come a long way since I first started here. Technology is always changing, increasing in this field, and we're having to keep up with the times," said Julie Villalpando, Lieutenant of Jail Operations.
According to Sheriff Cutler, they may not be doing it fast enough.
Another issue is the growing jail population, which has translated to more inmates to house and feed.
"Off and on since 2004, there's been crowding issues. We've got a contract or agreement with Guadalupe County," said Cutler.
That agreement allows hays to send any overflow inmates they have, over to the Guadalupe County jail, a practice that taxpayers are footing the several hundred thousand dollars bill for.
"When we get to 311, we're pretty full and we start thinking about moving them out," said Cutler.
Right now he says the county is in the early planning stages for a new jail.
"We're moving forward with this because this is very expensive, it's a very serious impact to our community," said Cutler.
This could be an impact that could save tax payers money in the long run.
"As the population grows we are anticipating an increase in our inmate population," said Cutler.
We have to be able to keep the individuals that need to be incarcerated, but also provide programs which we have been doing a lot in the last five years to decrease our population as much as possible.
Cutler tells me in no way will this overcrowding be a reason an inmate is released early, they still must go through court protocol as any other inmate.
Right now there's no time table on when the jail will be built, but Cutler says he expects to see it on voters' ballots very soon.