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County Corner: Assessing the needs of the Rockwall County Jail

(ROCKWALL, TX — May 30, 2018) The Commissioners Court recently held a special meeting to select a consultant from an RFQ we sent out for a Rockwall County Jail space use/needs assessment.

To address the need for such an assessment, let me preface this with some facts regarding the Rockwall County Jail. The jail was built back in 1989 and opened with 49 total beds. The next expansion came in 1997 when 48 beds were added. Then in 2000-2001, another expansion added 146 beds bringing the total number of beds in the facility to 243.

The Rockwall County Jail is the only jail facility in Rockwall County. The jail’s inmate population consists of those detained by all arresting agencies within the county, including Rockwall Police Department, the Rockwall County Sheriff’s Office, Royse City Police Department, and Fate and Heath departments of public safety, as well as those arrested by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

In 2006, the Commissioners Court went through the process of conducting an assessment of the jail expansion, and decided to not move forward at that time.

The Commissioners Court sent out an RFQ for a consultant to conduct a use/needs assessment for the county jail, and we were very pleased to receive a total of nine responses. Commissioners Lee Gilbert and Dennis Bailey were assigned with overseeing this project on behalf of the Commissioners Court, and they made a recommendation to bring in the top four consultants from the nine responses for presentations: DRG, HOK, HDR and Broaddus & Associates.

The court heard presentations from these four groups on May 21, and during a special meeting on May 23, selected to move into contract negotiations with Broaddus & Associates. The assessment will include an internal staffing and process analysis on how a person progresses once they come into the jail facility and once they exit through the judicial system.

While the consultant will help in assessing those needs, they are also going to evaluate the conditions of the current facility and determine what renovations and upgrades are needed to establish how the existing space will best be used. We’ll lean heavily on Broaddus to help pinpoint the target number of additional beds that will be needed based on estimates of future population within the jail. We’ll also take into consideration information from the very detailed analysis of the Texas Jail Commission.

It’s our commitment to work with this consultant to determine the needs of the county and be prepared to come to the voters for a future bond proposal.

Submitted by David Sweet, Rockwall County Judge.

Elected in November of 2014 as the Rockwall County Judge, Sweet previously served two terms as the Mayor of the City of Rockwall and as a City Council Member.

 

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