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 The facility is outdated,” Lieutenant Tom Worsham, who works at the jail, says.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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  • by Citizen Location: Sherman on Jan 30, 2008 at 06:02 PM
    Notice of the meetings? You have to be kidding! This is the Bynum Administration! He can violate the Open Government Rules every week with impunity since he is related some how or another to the District Attorney. He is the County Judge -- just note KXII story: "he" needs a plan to take to the Texas Commision on Jails. We thought "WE, the citizens of Grayson County" need a plan. Hope he enjoys his power junket -- he is a one termer for sure.
  • by Ralph Location: Denison on Jan 24, 2008 at 01:49 PM
    In so far as voting "No" for a new jail, you can pretty well forget about it. First, there is no way the County is going to call a $90 million bond election(with a $140 million payout over the term of the bonds) which would require a 30 cent per $100 value tax increase. Furthermore, there is no indication the County would consider building a smaller less expensive jail that could be expanded later. That too would require a bond election. Instead, the real plan is to privitize our jail system. That means having a private entity build and operate a new jail which would house our prisoners, and the thousand or so other prisoners they would import here from other places. We would pay that private entity X # of $ per day to take our prisoners. Essentially, we would rent prison space and the related services (room & board). If that plan is ultimately adopted by the County, you won't have the opportunity to vote on it. Only the County Commissioners (and County Judge) would get to vote.
  • by forrest Location: jamaica beach tx (with property in Ida) on Jan 23, 2008 at 06:15 PM
    How can a 20 year old building be falling apart? My hurricane-hit house is 25 years old and is still standing. Stock up on ammo and get a vicious dog. Post a sign that says "NO MERCY".
  • by just asking Location: sherman on Jan 22, 2008 at 07:23 PM
    why do we as hard working tax payers have to pay for these criminals to have all the best of everything at out expense. someone tells them when to get up, eat, take a bath, when to go to bed and even does their laundry. all at the tax payers expense. if most of them were sent back to their own county then maybe we wouldn't have to be taking care of all these illegials. just read the papers and see how many have names you cant pronounce and we have to pay for them. take these lazy people out and make them clean the roadways but then we would have the animal rights people on us for treating them like animals. instead we give them warm places to live at our expense and who is taking care of their family while their in jail WE ARE THE AMERICAN TAX PAYERS. VOTE NO ON THIS STUPID JAILHOUSE. DO THE MAINTAINCE ON THE ONE YOU HAVE. JUST SHOWES NO ONE WANTS TO WORK IN THIS COUNTY.
  • by Ralph Location: Denison on Jan 22, 2008 at 12:25 PM
    Black Knight has found a cash cow here in Grayson Co. The County is providing very little specific information, and investigative journalisim on this matter is non-existent. The HD reported that BK was planning to provide Grayson Co with a 500 bed jail, but it would require BK to build a 1500 bed facility to do so. Does that mean 1000 beds will be for prisoners imported from other parts of the country? The County paid study to determine our own jail needs through year 2025 claims we'll need 1200 beds. While I would dispute that figure based upon a number of demographic factors, the 500 bed offer from BK falls about 700 beds short. Would BK be obligated to provide us with 1200 beds if we eventually needed them? And at what cost per prisoner? The article mentions taking "leaps of faith". In matters involving many tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers money, leaps of faith are not appropriate. We need hard facts and figures, and thus far neither the county, nor BK, has provided them.
  • by michelle Location: van alstyne on Jan 22, 2008 at 09:52 AM
    It's not just Drue Bynum, but his buddy, Sherman Mayor Bill Magers who is pushing this too. He wants SEDCO to help pay for this. What does a new jail have to do with creating manufacturing jobs, anyway? Who really stands to gain by this? That's the real question. Follow the money to find your answer.
  • by Mad Location: Pottsboro on Jan 22, 2008 at 08:11 AM
    I cannot believe it! But heard it in person in Pottsboro just last week. After all that has been done to try and make growth possible at the airport. How could they even consider it. Judge Bynum is pushing it - but from what I hear in Potts & Denison, he'll be lucky if he serves again. Pushing this one he lost allot of respect and support from the locals.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 22, 2008 at 06:49 AM
    Our commisioners are sick to think our county needs a $140,000,000 jail.We would have plenty of room if we didnt have holier than thou judges that sentence nonviolent offenders to jail.These guys have even proposed building it at the county airport which would in return destroy any growth and function of the airport after spending all this money on it.
  • by Opinion8ed Location: on Texoma on Jan 22, 2008 at 06:27 AM
    Is there a schedule or some kind of notice when and where these meetings will be held? I would like to attend one, but only hear about them after the fact.
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