Ector County Jail Working to Keep Number of Inmates Down 01/21/14
January 21, 2014
Odessa - The Ector County Jail has seen a tremendous increase in their inmate population over the past year. Now county officials are asking officers to write tickets rather than arrest people with minor class C misdemeanors. The jail is currently working with a consultant that will help make a plan with the courts to move the charging process along quicker. Tuesday was a visitation day at the Ector County Jail, many family members CBS 7 spoke with say their wait time is now longer than their visitation times.
“It’s just a stand in line and wait then you stand in line and go back,” said Odessa resident Jessie Fuller. For Fuller sitting in a crowded waiting room at the Ector County Law Enforcement facility is a weekly chore. “It’s not real nice, we are in jail as much as they are,” Fuller said.
Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson says the jail is just short of 50 inmates of hitting maximum capacity, and with the growing inmate population comes a demand for more staff and Donaldson says applicants are hard to come by.
“We used to get 20-35 applications a month, now we are only getting maybe one a month,” said Donaldson.
Officials have also called for less inmate bookings, now if you commit only a minor crime that would normally merit a ride to jail, you could get off with just a ticket. “They could write a ticket you know, instead of bringing them to jail. That has really slowed down the booking a little bit,” said Donaldson.
So what exactly are the misdemeanor cases that will not put you behind bars? Donaldson say any class C misdemeanors that will not cause harm to yourself or others such as disorderly conduct or a minor in possession. Cases however that will put you in the back of a police car are those of public intoxication or any form of assault.
For now, for Mrs. Fuller, the overcrowding in the jail means clearing her whole schedule for the day just to sit and wait. “It’s not easy being out here and waiting to see your loved ones and I’m sure that it’s not easy being in there,” said Fuller.
CBS 7 also checked in with the Midland County Sheriff who says their population has also increased but is not to the point of overcrowding. For them they are just over 100 people short of reaching maximum capacity.
Odessa – Officials at the Ector County law enforcement center are reporting that the population in the jail has been increasing dramatically for the past year. The jails top capacity is 667 inmates currently the jail is holding around 617.
Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson says they are doing a variety of things to help keep the population down in the jail. They have been working with the County Attorney as well as the District Attorney to speed up the court process and clear out the Jail.
Officials also add that they are not arresting all Class C Misdemeanor charges that they once used to unless they fit certain criteria. If the offender is not a harm to himself or others they will only be written a ticket.