The Henderson County Jail inmate population has been trending higher in recent days due in part to Anderson County’s misfortune.

The jail had more than 300 prisoners Monday. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards reported the Henderson County Jail housed 268 inmates in March. Sheriff Ray Nutt said there is a big increase in Smith County inmates that had been in the Anderson County Jail.

“They had to pull them out of Anderson County where the Anderson County Jail didn’t pass inspection,” Nutt said.

Henderson County had 35 contract inmates on March 1. Lately, that’s been 65 to 75 inmate range. That means a few more dollars in Henderson County’s account.

On March, 8, according to a Palestine Herald newspaper story, the Anderson County Jail failed inspection, because of a failure to properly document information on some inmate forms.

State law prohibits out-of-county inmates from being housed at a jail that is not in compliance. Two weeks later, the jail passed inspection, but the inmates at least temporarily remained in the Henderson County facility.

Henderson County completed a jail expansion in 2008, increasing the capacity from about 200 to more than 500.

At times, after the new portion of the jail opened, the jail population was more than 400, with the county collecting board for more than 100 out-of-county inmates at a rate of about $38 per day.

The number of out-of-county inmates decreased sharply in 2010, lowering the revenue received.

Without the new jail, Henderson County would still be paying to keep its overflow of inmates in other locations. The expansion project first came under consideration in the late 1990s. An $8.5 million bond issue for the project was approved by voters in November, 2005.

Meanwhile, Smith County continues to work toward building a larger jail. As of March 1, the 755-bed facility was 88.48-percent full.

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