With a key on his hip, Cleburne County Sheriff Chris Brown takes himself behind bars.
Inside the Cleburne county jail, trash bags cover windows while orange jumpsuits sit neatly stacked in a closet.
Take a tour, and you’ll see law and order mixed with sub-par amenities.
“The jail has really gone up and down over the last 15 years,” Brown says.
The jail, which was built in 1979 followed by add-ons in 1995 and 2005, has fallen short of state standards for 12 out of 14 years.
Those standards include separating men and women based on things like high-risk, low-risk and medical factors.
Women would normally be in a large room with more than 20 bunks.
But, to make room for the separations and classifications, female inmates are now being taken to the White county jail for a fee.
“It’s hard when you take one group of folks and house them and then you take another group of folks and ship them off,” Brown says.
He says the county budgeted about $100,00 to spend on female inmate transports this year.
Next year that cost could be closer to $150,000.
“I think the most logical long-term solution is a new facility,” Brown says.
It’s an idea that could be the key to unlocking a more fiscally responsible facility.