ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – Sheriff Ricky Bishop says the Taylor County Jail is in better shape now that the height of the pandemic is believed to be over. The jail’s population is lighter by a couple hundred now that Texas prisons are accepting convicted inmates, providing relief after paused prison transfers last year.
Sheriff Bishop says it was two or three months ago when the jail was finally able to move convicted prisoners to various state prisons, moving as many as 55 inmates at a time to help relieve space at the Taylor County facility.
“Total capacity is 826 beds. During the peak of the pandemic last summer we only had two beds left,” said Sheriff Bishop.
Now there are about 575 inmates in custody, a much easier sum to manage than a nearly-full jail, according to Sheriff Bishop. Although, he adds that staff and inmates were relatively understanding of the struggle caused by the pandemic over the last year.
“It gets hectic sometimes, and the inmates not being able to see their families because of the rules that came down from jail standards, but our inmate population has been pretty good and understanding of everything that we were trying to do for them,” said Sheriff Bishop.
Visitation was restored at the jail just last week, which Bishop says is a welcomed sign the pandemic just might be in its last phases.
“It’s feeling good, but none of our business has changed,” said Sheriff Bishop. “The only thing that’s changed is we’re sanitizing more, we’re wearing masks. We’re still showing up and doing the same work everyday.”