Tuesday, April 17, 2012

PR bonds in February 4 times the number in November

Waco – Jail census reports show that Personal Recognizance releases from the McLennan County Jail approved by judges in February number 4 times those made in November, just one quarter earlier in fiscal year 2011/2012.

In an ongoing funding crisis, the Sheriff's Department has been paying $45.50 per day to house overflow prisoners from the Highway 6 County Jail in the Jack Harwell Detention Center due to overcrowding.

In March, the entire budget for the year for outside care of prisoners had been depleted, so the Commissioners Court was forced to fund the need from the “Contingencies” account in the yearly budget.

According to County Auditor Stan Chambers, the yearly expense will total more than $1.6 million over the course of the current fiscal year. (please click for larger view)

Non-violent prisoners charged with offenses other than those classified as assaultive in the Texas Penal Code are eligible for release by personal recognizance if a judge approves, and if the inmate completes a release form with all pertinent information regarding residence and place of work.

It is essentially a personal promise to appear in court on the day specified, one which is backed by the surety of an offender's word rather than the forfeiture of a certain amount of money by a suretor.


  1. Thanks for getting this Legendary. This shows us our jail overcrowding is less about crime rates and more about administrative decisions and policies.

    If you really want to open Pandora's Box, get the dismissal dates and then the actual release dates of all the cases. I think you will discover many of those are staying much longer than they should. Law enforcement is encouraged to overcharge cases and it is up to the DA's office to then notify the jail to drop the bond when the case is refused/dismissed and it can take weeks or months. Besides being wrong and expensive, it also puts our county at risk of civil suits.

    This entire county conviction system is a cluster of systemic problems due to poor administration, lack of communication and misguided policies. I don't know how long this has gone on, but I doubt the new jail was even necessary, all things considered.

    1. Considering the new jail holds almost 900 and the downtown jail holds about 450, and that the new jail has never been above 50% capacity even with the overcrowding at the jail right now, no is was not necessary at all. But the Sheriff had to have it, convincing the Commissioners that he couldn't hire qualified deputies at $35,000 a year plus benefits, but that CEC could hire just as qualified people for $8 an hour no benefits.

      Currently the new jail is still not in compliance, despite the Sheriff being constitutional responsible for it, and Chief Deputy Plemons doing his covert "weekly" inspections where by he's never even seen by the guys that work the gates. To me that sounds more like another Plemons lie or they have a serious security breach at the jail.

  2. The new jail was absolutely not needed. Lynch was looking for a way to pad his pocket, at the expense of the taxpayers. The corruption in the Sheriff's office needs to be stopped once and for all. Vote McNamara!

  3. As the county throws another $215,261 down the rat whole that is the private jail pushed through by Lynch and Plemons. And to think, they originally wanted to give the county run jail to these people. Imagine how big of a mess that would be now. The county would be paying an estimated $15 million a year to put prisoners in our own jail. For those keeping score, that would be $2 million over the current year's budget for the jail, counting the $1,000,000 they have already spent for Outside Prisoner Care, so really, it's more then $3 million so far. No wonder Plemons doesn't want to forecast for his current spending problem. If this is what passes for an administrator in the Sheriff's Office, we can't afford to keep people like this.