Coleman County Considers a New Jail

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Coleman, Texas (KRBC) – The Coleman County Jail is not what you think of when you hear the phrase, “home sweet home”.

“The jail has a Texas historical marker on it and it was occupied in 1890,” said Sheriff Wade Turner.

Not only has the jail housed criminals since 1890, it traditionally also houses the sheriff’s family.

“When I became sheriff back in 1988 my family and i moved into the jail,” said Turner.

And for almost 30 years Sheriff Turner’s family thrived within the jail walls.

“Actually, my kids were raised in the living quarters of this jail here and it’s kind of like our house, it always has been,” said Turner.

But with the age of the jail comes issues, a specific issue being the fact the jail can only house 9 inmates and the rest of Coleman County’s inmates have to be sent to other jails.

We’re just at a crossroads where the expenses are adding up so much  that it’s pretty tough for a small county like Colemen to budget for this amount,” said Judge Billy Bledsoe.

This is a problem monetarily as well as inconvenient in that it takes sheriff’s deputies away from the county.

“Our deputies have to transport them back and forth which means they’re not in the county doing their job that needs to be done,” said Bledsoe.

The only feasible solution?

“The only solution is to build a new jail and have a larger facility here within our county. We’ll keep the jobs here and the costs of sending inmates out will remain in Coleman County,” said Bledsoe.

Another thing sheriff turner is hoping they keep? The historical jail.

“Like I said, that’s my home and  hate to see somebody come in and bulldoze it down, there’s a lot of memories over there,” said Turner.

The county commissioners, county judge, and the sheriff have been discussing how to go about building a new jail, but ultimately the decision to build one will not be theirs.

“It’s not a decision that’s made by the sheriff, the judge, or even the four commissioners, it’s going to be a vote that the county decides hey, we need to address this problem and fix it now going forward although it’ll have a price tag on it,” said Bledsoe.

As for the old jail? They’ll hang on to the historic property so that memories like the time Sheriff’s Turner’s son got lost can be preserved.

“Well, finally I decided surely he’s not upstairs with inmates and sure enough that’s where he was setting up in front of the inmates and they were playing checkers together,” said Turner.
 

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