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It seems all but certain that adding on to the Lubbock County Detention Center is going to happen. The question right now is when and how much will it cost to expand the jail.

According to KAMC, Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe believes we have seen so much overcrowding at the Lubbock County Detention Center due to the after-effects of the pandemic.

“Arrests are still happening while we’re trying to get to other cases of arrests prior to and during the shutdowns,” Rowe said. “Bed availability is next to nil, so the jail administration out there is under direction from me that if you find beds you put people in them because we’re going to need them. If you don’t have them in there, somebody else is going to get them.”

According to KAMC, the total capacity of the Lubbock County Detention Center is 1,512. On Monday, there were 1,514 inmates at the facility. While Lubbock County Commissioners recently approve $1 million dollars in funding to house inmates in other detention centers, Sheriff Rowe says that money will last until maybe the end of July due to outside counties charging $75 per inmate per day.

The long-term plan seems to be to expand the current jail. But the Sheriff says the cost of expansion won't be known until this Summer and construction could take years.

Knowing this, Lubbock County Commissioners should start planning now on cost reduction policies to help balance out any type of possible bond election for the jail will be needed. If spending can't be cut, Commissioners and future candidates must be upfront with the voters about how much taxes will increase in the near and long-term.

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