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Washington County Space Issues

By: Amanda Humes
By: Amanda Humes

Like several other counties in the Brazos Valley, Washington County is experiencing some growing pains. The county is having problems with courthouse and jail space needs.

"Unfortunately we're just running out of space," said Washington County Judge, Dorothy Morgan.

Morgan is concerned about security at the nearly 70 year old courthouse.

"We're going to have to look at our space problems for another courtroom. The district judges would like another courtroom that would be a little safer than how it is set up now where the prisoners have to walk up the stairs to go to the 3rd floor," said Morgan.

There's also a shortage of office space and record storing facilities. County commissioners will consider using a building across the street from the courthouse for extra room. But the courthouse isn't the only place with space needs.

Jail administrator Alan Rungee has had to shuffle things around for the past few months. The jail only has 10 beds for female inmates. But lately the female population has exceeded that number.

"What we're doing now is trying to work with the courts and the prosecutors to move them out of here quicker or close down a section that was allotted for males and move the females to that spot," said Rungee.

County commissioners will have to crunch some numbers and come up with a way to pay for the projects and that could involve a bond election.

"We just need to know what we need to do, approximately how much money it is going to cost and then we can go with it from there," said Morgan.

County commissioners are planning a workshop in March to address the space issues.


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