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Regional jail could be ticket


By no means is anything set in stone but initial meetings between McClain County and Garvin County officials may be on track for solving both counties’ jail over crowding situation.

County commissioners and other officials from both counties have had a couple of preliminary discussion meetings about planning to build a regional jail to serve both counties.

McClain County’s jail has 52 beds and is way overcrowded.

In fact, it’s costing the citizens of McClain County thousands of dollars to house our prisoners in other area jails .

Garvin County is in much the same boat although they do have a few more beds in their current facility at 73.

Commissioner Wilson Lyles reports the two counties have met twice in Garvin County and will gather at the McClain County Courthouse November 8 at 10:30 a.m.

Lyles said officials are trying to see how financing could be worked out between the two counties that would be fair to the citizens.

“We’re very fortunate that we all get along,” Lyles said of commissioners in both counties and sheriffs Landy Offolter and Garvin County Sheriff Jim Mullett.

“We just feel comfortable with each other and we think now is as good a time as ever to pursue this.

“It’s getting to the point where jails are just not affordable,” he said.

“I think this is a trend of the future across the country,” Lyles said.

Offolter reports there are regional jails but most of them are Back East.

Around here there is one in Kansas, a couple in New Mexico, Kentucky and Tennessee.

In discussions, the jail would be a 300 bed facility at a site yet to be determined.

“That would give us adequate beds for both counties plus potentially housing DOC or federal detainees for a daily fee,” Lyles said.

According to Lyles, the cost is projected to be between $30 and $35 million for the jail and administration offices.

The sheriff departments would remain in the courthouses just as they are now.

“With technology as it is you don’t have to be in front of a judge (for hearings).

“We already do it via zoom in our courthouse now,” he said.

McClain County has already tried to pass a measure to fund a jail here and it failed in 2019.

If the details can be worked out, it might just be the ticket to solving the overcrowding issues for both counties.


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