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County approves updated agreement with Travis County

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Hays County will pay more each day than it originally anticipated to outsource inmates to Travis County. 

Hays County Commissioners passed an updated agreement with Travis County for the outsourcing of inmates to the Travis County Correctional Complex on Tuesday morning. The agreement had one change — an increase of the per diem rate of outsourcing from $2,000 per day to $3,500 per day for up to 50 inmates. In other words, the new agreement would cost Hays County $70 per day, per inmate to outsource to Travis County, instead of the previously proposed $40 per day. 

According to Mark Kennedy, general counsel, Travis County was dissatisfied with the $2,000 per day amount. At their Aug. 27 Commissioners Court meeting, the county decided to raise the cost per day. 

“I think that was probably a loser for them,” Kennedy said. “Well not probably, certainly it was.” 

Travis County’s jail can house more than 2,500 inmates, according to the Travis County Sheriff's Office website, while the Hays County Jail can hold 311 inmates due to the state mandate that requires jails to keep 10% of its capacity open. When an expanded Hays County Jail is complete, it will have an additional 192 beds.

Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe said she still believes that it is a good idea to bring inmates closer to Hays County. 

“You know I don’t have an issue with that and I’ll support this but I was surprised when I saw that difference in cost,” Ingalsbe said. 

Pct. 3 Commissioner Lon Shell thanked Travis County, as well as each county’s sheriff's office for working to produce the agreement.  

“I know it’s a lot closer and it should be better for the entire justice system,” Shell said. “I wish they would've gone with the lower rate but it’s still better than some of our alternatives.” 

Hays County outsourced to seven different counties according to the last report read during Commissioner Court. The farthest County — Walker County — is approximately 172 miles from Hays County, which is nearly a three-hour drive. 

In previous conversation, commissioners and Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler expressed their desire to house inmates closer to Hays County, which would in turn allow easier access to legal counsel for the inmates. 

“We do not have any (inmates) in McLennan and Waco anymore so we do want to bring them closer for the sake of courts here,” Cutler said during an Aug. 6 Commissioners Court meeting. 

San Marcos Record

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