New Addition To Grayson County Jail Opens - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

New Addition To Grayson County Jail Opens

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SHERMAN, TX -- A new addition to the Grayson County Jail is now open, giving the county an extra 48 beds to house inmates, and the public got a chance to see the new space.

After more than a year of construction on an almost $6 million renovation and addition project, the new addition is ready for inmates and it opened for everyone to see on Thursday morning. 

"We drove by and saw the construction for a long time, just wondered what it was going to be like," says visitor Scott Macrae.

Visitors came into a room which has a roof that lets in air from the outdoors, and then toured a few different pods which have cells on two stories.

"There are some rooms for just one person, there's rooms for two, and there's rooms for as many as four, and the ones that do cause problems we can isolate them," says Sheriff Keith Gary.

The separation cells also have their own shower inside, and the pods have tables in the common ground-floor space.

"So many jails are just very compact and this is an open thing," says Gary. "I think the inmates while we don't have to have their approval, we will get it, in the form of inmates not destroying the jail."

The new jail addition adds a total of 96 beds, for a net gain of 48 beds, bringing the total capacity for the sheriff's office to 480 beds.

Watching over it all is a special room with a window that officials call the "eye in the sky."

"We saw the control room up there and it was really interesting to see how much control they can have over the inmates," says Macrae.

"It gives us the ability to see look down and see people, you can supervise it with fewer officers as a matter of fact," says Gary.

When the lights are off in that room, the jailers can see out, but with the two-way glass, the inmates cannot see in. The cell doors can be locked and unlocked automatically.

"It's all controlled electronically," says jail administrator Capt. Roger Braziel. "The camera system is awesome, it's just really enhanced our operations."

While construction is going on, Gary says they have been housing about 60 inmates in Texarkana, which they will no longer need to do.

Now, the project shifts to the old jail, where there are plans to put in new cameras, doors, and a security system. Officials hope that renovation will be done by December.

Officials originally hoped to have it open in May or June, and it is set to go into use immediately with the "trustee" inmates moving in first.