Lubbock County Jail Full; Officials Work to Solve Problem - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/20/06

Lubbock County Jail Full; Officials Work to Solve Problem

Lubbock County is building the new jail on Holly Street in North Lubbock County. It should be able to hold 1,334 inmates, nearly twice the capacity of the current jail. But right, now the county jail is overcrowded and officials are looking for ways to solve the problem.

"I talked to our court staff today to make sure everyone who is in jail is set for a docket quickly so that way we can make sure things are moving out of the system fast. Plus it (crowding issues) adds pressure on the court," said David Slayton, Lubbock County Court Administrative Director.

Slayton says he has spent the last two days going through a list of people the county can release from jail. He is trying to reduce the overcrowded jail population. "(We do not want) to jeopardize the public safety or release people who are going to be a flight risk," said Slayton.

For Lubbock County Deputy Chief Paul Scarborough, he's shopping around for more room. One option is housing female inmates in Hale County. The Lubbock County Commissioners are set to make a decision on a contract Monday. "We have looked as far east as Limestone County. It is a private facility but it is full," said Scarborough.

Slayton says a record 460 indictments came through the court system in March, which is the highest it has ever been since 1992. Scarborough says he is planning meetings with the District Attorney's office, judges and other law enforcement. "We have some discussions regarding Class C misdemeanors that are jailed when they could be given tickets," said Scarborough.

Lubbock Assistant Police Chief of Patrol Dale Holton says LPD is the jail's largest source of inmates. He says 60-70 new officers are patrolling the streets. As Lubbock's population grows, so do arrests. "I'm sure we'll have an opportunity to discuss that with them (the county.) We make decisions on arrests based on the situations that we find at the time and not on whether there is space at the jail or our holding facility," said Holton.

No word as to when or how many inmates could be released from the jail. Slayton says they will use careful consideration when doing so. As for the new jail, it is expected to open in two years.

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