HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – According to Hays County Corrections officials, the county’s jail expansion project is completed, and inmates have moved into that new area. However, a different part of the jail is now not being used because staffing positions are not filled.
According to Hays County Lieutenant Eric Batch, as of this week, there are 65 open positions for corrections officers.
“The beds will remain empty until we hire more staff,” Lt. Batch said.
In 2016, voters approved a $60 million bond that included the jail expansion project to address overcrowding.
According to Lt. Batch, the new part of the jail finished in late 2020, and inmates moved into the area. He said then that the older part of the jail went through renovations. He said those upgrades are complete, but inmates can’t move into those beds because there aren’t enough staff.
“The new side of the facility is open and operational 100%. The old side of the facility… the renovations are complete they’re finished. They’re sitting empty. And they’re sitting empty because of our 65 openings,” Lt. Batch said.
So, there is enough space to house inmates—just not enough officers. Until those positions can get filled, Lt. Batch said the county would continue outsourcing inmates to other jails in Texas and possibly even outside state lines.
“We’re looking out to every available county that can house our inmates. And at this point, we’re looking out of state for more beds,” Lt. Batch said.
The county is trying to address this staffing shortage through recruiting via social media and local universities. Lt. Batch said the county just signed a contract with Texas State University to advertise there.