New online dashboard details Hays County Jail population

The dashboard at Hays County Jail is currently refreshed every two weeks. (Courtesy Pexels)
The dashboard at Hays County Jail is currently refreshed every two weeks. (Courtesy Pexels)

The dashboard at Hays County Jail is currently refreshed every two weeks. (Courtesy Pexels)

An online dashboard with data about the Hays County Jail inmate population created through a public-private partnership between Hays County and the Vera Institute of Justice was announced during a March 22 press conference.

The dashboard shows a variety of data, which includes granular demographic information, trends, bond amounts and length of stays at the jail.

Data is provided by the Hays County Jail from its own data management system, and the dashboard is currently refreshed every two weeks.

According to Jasmine Heiss, project director of Vera’s In Our Backyards initiative, the data is not intended for complex analysis but does provide an accurate perception of the specific characteristics of the jail’s population.

Stark racial disparities are immediately apparent on the dashboard, with Black residents accounting for 4.6% of Hays County’s population, but representing 16% of inmates. The ratio is even more disparate among Black men.

Other data sets show that 73%, or 369, of the jail’s 505 inmates on March 22 were awaiting trial. However, 93.5% of the jail population had been held for more than one week, and 83% had been held for more than one month.

Hays County inmates housed in other counties are also included in the data.

One of the dashboard’s purposes is to assist county officials and community groups in finding how the local bond and pretrial system can be improved.

“Some of these are complex situations, but if you don't really drill down into all the details, I don’t think we can provide accurate answers, and I think that's what the goal of this is,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Lon Shell said during the press conference.
By Warren Brown
Warren joined Community Impact at the beginning of 2020 as the editor of its New Braunfels paper and now reports the news in San Marcos, Buda and Kyle. Warren previously wrote for the Dallas Observer and Fort Worth Weekly and he brings a passion for truth and equality to his reporting.


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