Increase In Crime Pushes Jailhouse Near Capacity 1/17/13
CBS 7 News Reporter
January 17, 2013
MIDLAND, TX – The FBI released numbers proving that violent crimes are in fact going up in Midland and Odessa. Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter says the increase in crimes is pushing jailhouses to higher capacities than ever before; which is also draining more money out of taxpayer's pockets.
It’s an on-going problem that the county has called in experts from out of town to fix.
"Locally the crime rate was definitely up. Locally meaning multiple counties," said Richard Kirkland, criminal justice consultant with Carl R. Griffith & Associates, Inc.
The reason behind this trend is not surprising.
"More people. We got people in here that are not from this part of the county. They don't understand the way things work," said Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter.
Painter says the increase in crime puts more of a " crunch” in the jailhouse.
"I am so thankful that the citizens of Midland County passed the bond and allowed us too build an increase in out jail when they did," said Painter.
The Midland County Jail holds up to 350 inmates everyday and that number is only increasing at time goes on. Now the county is looking at other alternatives, which will save taxpayers money.
"Every person that doesn't spend one day in jail saves you $65 a day; you as a tax paper. That's what it costs, all the costs, the court cost, the building, the food, the medical," said Kirkland.
Kirkland is a criminal justice consultant hired by the county to give law enforcement officials tactical plans at decreasing crime and the number of inmates in jail.
He suggests implementing a system that would focus judges on other options for punishment in regards to lighter crimes committed; which keeps taxpayer money out of the jailhouse.
Sheriff painter says that the county will take extensive measures to decrease the amount of inmates at the jail. Violent crimes are a problem, but he also stated that more people are in jail due to traffic tickets.
Painter suggests, instead of spending time in the big house, discuss several options with judges if you cannot pay your fine.