At first glance, $60,000 for paint and primer for the Wichita County Jail and Sprague Jail Annex seemed like a hefty price tag for taxpayers - what seemed like a cosmetic "face lift." But, county officials say it's nothing of the sort.
"We're due for a jail inspection and what we don't want is a jail inspector to come in from the Jail Commission and see the things that they've already told us about you know a couple years ago - we gotta get lined down and we haven't done anything with it. So, we've been trying to work with the commissioners to get a time when we can get it done and when they have the money for it and now's that time," Sheriff David Duke said.
The project is necessary to bring the facilities back up to code because right now, they don't meet Texas Jail Commission standards. The jail facilities aren't painted in a uniform manner or painted in a color that allows guards to see inmates and what they're doing inside their cells. Essentially, it's a big safety risk.
Bottom line: The county has no choice but to fund it.
In an effort to save money with labor costs, inmate work crews will do the painting as hired supervisors look on.
Judge Woody Gossom said, "It's not free, but it's certainly a lot less than it would be if we were having contractors do it."
The necessary "face lift" has been a long time coming and now, there's no time to waste.
"I'm not sure why we went as long as we did to get to it... this needs to be done. It's part of the maintenance... We'll paint everything while we're there in each one of those cells that needs to be painted with this type of paint. So, it'll move that process along," Judge Gossom said.
The measure was approved this morning and work on the project will begin as early as next week - as soon as the paint is ordered and comes in.