Brazoria County jail file

Inmates at the Brazoria County Detention Center line up against a hallway wall.

ANGLETON — As the county detention center nears capacity and the number of inmates continues to rise, Brazoria County Commissioners Court will commission a needs assessment to determine whether to expand the facility.

From Oct. 1, 2021, to Aug. 1, the prisoner count has risen from 719 to 993 and is now pushing 1,000, County Judge Matt Sebesta said. At a cost of $51 a day to house and feed an inmate, the added jail population will cost the county an extra $5.16 million a year, he said.

“This is for a needs assessment to determine and see where we’re at at the center,” Sebesta said. “We have a lot of folks — unlike our neighbors to the north that play catch and release. We have good law enforcement and a good DA’s office that make sure that they have the public safety at all times.”

The county beds are filling up and costing a lot of money. This assessment will determine if a significant investment in the detention center in the future is needed, he said.

The court approved having qualified companies bid on conducting this assessment and project how much an expansion project would cost, Sebesta said.

The assessment will study the demographics, look at trends and the complexities of the jail and give the commissioners some recommendations on how and when they need to expand the jail, Sebesta said.

Money from the American Rescue Plan Act Lost Revenue program would cover the assessment while the commissioners determine a plan of action.

“We are seeing a lot more prisoners than we have seen in the past,” Sebesta said. “The sheriff has over 1,000 inmates, and our capacity is 1,200. We are continuing to see the jail population growth, which means that at some point in time, we’re going to have to expand the jail.”

In other business, the commissioners awarded a contract with Shirley and Sons Construction of Cleveland for $318,945 to build wooden decks and fishing piers at Camp Mohawk County Park in Alvin.

“We are using that to fund decks at each of the four cabins at Camp Mohawk,” Parks Director Bryan Frazier said. “We will also be putting a deck on the Karankawa dorm that overlooks our lake there.”

Platform fishing decks will be installed around the edge of the lake, he said.

“We do fishing events there,” Frazier said. “We want to make sure there is good access wherever we can around it. So we’re putting in platform decks for good fishing access.”

The plan is to start the construction process pretty quickly, Frazier said.

“Camp Mohawk was hit pretty hard when Hurricane Harvey hit, so it has all been renovated — all of the doors, four of the cabins and dorms,” he said.

Funding will come from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act. The U.S Department of Interior divides up small percentages of revenue from offshore oil leases and gives it to Gulf states, Frazier said.

A $5 million grant will cover the Folletts Island Dune Restoration Project, which also went out to bid this week. The money to bolster the dunes came from the American Rescue Plan Act via the Texas General Land Office, according to the agenda packet.

“It was a court order from the state where the money is coming from,” Sebesta said. “This will help put toward reestablishing our dunes.”

Raven Wuebker is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0152.

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