New facility needed in Coleman Co. as 127-year-old jail falls apart


COLEMAN, Texas - Coleman County is in need of a new jail as the county's current century-old one crumbles.

The Coleman County Jail goes back to when the county was founded but newly elected Sheriff Les Cogdill thinks it's time for a change.

"As you can see looking at the ceiling, water leaks," he said Thursday while giving KTXS a tour of the facility.

The jail opened in 1890. Previous sheriffs have managed to hold it together the last 127 years by repairing busted pipes and placing a tarp on the roof.

But the jail, which was built using rock, is now literally falling apart.

"I stepped back just in time [to avoid] one of the big rocks; it just all fell through," said Mary Brixey, a jailer with the sheriff's office, said. She was in the kitchen on a rainy day when rocks from the roof nearly came tumbling down on her.

Cogdill took office Jan. 1 and his first priority is replacing the jail.

"There's several important reasons: safety for the staff, security for the staff, safety for the inmates, living conditions for the inmates," he said.

The jail barely holds the current eight inmates it houses. The three-floor facility has room for only nine inmates at a time, according to the sheriff.

At the entrance of the jail where inmates are led through, there's a washer and dryer, which concerns the sheriff.

"If somebody decides to fight, you have a washing machine here," he said. "You got a wall and you just have a narrow hallway."

The sheriff's office pays $40 to $50 a day to house some of their inmates in Runnels County, but the practice takes deputies away from doing patrols.

Cogdill said they're mandated by the Texas Commission on Jails Standards to have them there.

Coleman County Commissioners are working to unveil design plans for the new jail and law enforcement center sometime next month, according to Judge Billy Bledsoe.

Commissioners hope to hold a bond vote to pay for the project in May.

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