Weatherford Democrat

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November 28, 2013

New jail facility under discussion

Proposed addition would house trusted jail inmates to free up space to take in more federal prisoners

By JUDY SHERIDAN

Community Education Centers, the company Parker County contracts with to manage the Parker County Jail, has offered to build a work-release low- security jail facility for the county free of charge.

The facility, to be built just off the parking lot about 50 yards from the current jail, would house prisoners with outdoor trusty status — those who help in the four precincts, do street maintenance and work at the animal shelter.

“They are entering society and don’t need the maximum security of the main building,” Facility Warden Ron King said.

The new building would free up space in the main jail for more prisoners of the U.S. Marshals Service, King said, which pays the county $10.96 per day per prisoner. CEC is paid $51.96 per day for each federal prisoner housed.

In addition, it would allow the county to delay constructing “more expensive beds” — requiring a slab, reinforced walls, electronics and hardened cells — for two or three years.

Plans call for a 3,600-square-foot metal or pre-fabricated building, King said, big enough to house 48 inmates and one round-the-clock supervisor.

“It would be an open-door format,” King said, “with 24 bunk beds and six-person to eight-person tables for meals and board games.” 

King said he met Tuesday with RamTech, which builds commercial-grade modular buildings, and expects to have a cost estimate by the first week in December.

“Once I get an estimate, I’ll go to see my boss in New Jersey,” he said.

The buildings are constructed in Mansfield, King said, but the site must be graded and utilities run.

“I think it will take about three months,” he said.

King hopes to gain approval from Parker County commissioners late next month and finish construction by the first day of spring.

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