New jail discussed in Sherman

By: Mystic Matthews Email
By: Mystic Matthews Email

SHERMAN, Tex. -- A new jail was the topic of discussion for city and county leaders Monday in Grayson County.

No definite plans have been made to build a new facility, but Sherman leaders have some suggestions about where to put the proposed jail and some strong opinions about why one is needed.

Commissioners have been traveling on what Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum calls “the county circuit’ going to each city with a jail proposal. While they haven't yet decided whether to build the new jail, they are discussing some possible locations for the proposed facility.

While the future of a new jail is still up in the air, one thing is certain: Sherman leaders want the jail to stay in the county seat.

On Monday, city and county officials joined with the board of the Sherman Economic Development Company to meet with Larry Redell from Black Knight Partners, the company called in to help in the planning.

“The county has approached us in the spirit of a public/ private partnership, to see if there is a way to make this endeavor a win-win,” Redell says.

Officials say these are the first steps in a long process.

“Very early stages, trying to do homework at this point, and certainly working in collaboration with Sherman and SEDCO, is a real terrific first milestone toward that endeavor.”

The current jail is housed in the justice center, and sheriff's deputies say the more than 20-year-old building is literally falling apart.

“The building is in such deterioration. The age of facility and problems we’re having, maintenance becoming more expensive. The facility is outdated,” Lieutenant Tom Worsham, who works at the jail, says. Worsham says the problem is more than infrastructure.

“Our population is ever increasing. At one time in 2006, we had over 100 inmates housed in other county jails simply because we did not have room.”

So far, only the city of Sherman has made a bid for the jail. About 95 acres near the animal control facility and the sewer plant southwest of downtown sherman has been suggested as a possible location, but Lieutenant Worsham says no matter where they put the new facility, it needs to be done.

“We’ve outgrown the infrastructure. Sewage problems on a daily basis. Our book-in area is too small. We just don't have adequate housing for what we need to do."

Judge Bynum says he needs a plan for a new or improved jail by May to take to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

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