The Bell County Jail is facing overcrowding and is looking to expand their facilities.

According to a report from our news partners at KWTX, $138 million dollars of new debt has been approved to help support the expansion of the Bell County Jail and other infrastructure projects. The money will also be used to update the local annexes and Sheriff's office.

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Overcrowding is a large issue at several jails across the nation and Texas. KWTX spoke with Judge Blackburn who stated that the Bell County Jail occupancy is approximately 950 inmates, and that over 1,100 inmates are housed at the jail currently. The Bell County jail regularly admits inmates from other county jails due to overcrowding, and are now facing the same problem themselves.

Judge Blackburn further explained that jails are not expanded or renovated frequently, and said that this type of expansion typically only happens once in a generation.

Tax payers concerned with the high monetary costs do not have reason to be alarmed. The funds for the expansion and other infrastructures all fall within capacity of our normal tax rate, which means you will not see taxes raised to foot this bill. The availability of the American Rescue Plan to Bell County will also help offset the expenses needed. More details about the amount coming to Bell County through the American Rescue Plan should be released in the next 30-45 days.

While some may see the expansion of the Bell County Jail as frivolous, the end result will benefit not just the inmates, but the staff as well, especially during this pandemic.

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