Nine jails. Nine counties. More to come.

Erath County commissioners have spent recent days touring jail facilities in other counties that have been expanded in recent years.

County Judge Tab Thompson and commissioners Doug Eberhart, Lynn Tidwell, Jerry Martin and Randy Lowe are in the process of traveling - along with other county officials - and gathering information aimed at generating plans and addressing the Erath County Jail’s current and anticipated future overcrowding problems.

“We’re just doing our homework,” Thompson said. “A picture’s worth a thousand words.”

Commissioners have split up into separate groups to trek to jails in the nine locations thus far. Altogether, commissioners have traveled to jails in Hillsboro, Cleburne, Belton, Glen Rose, Brownwood, Abilene, Graham, Weatherford and Jacksboro.

Trips are also planned in the coming days in Decatur and other to-be-announced locations.

“We’re finding a little bit of everything,” Thompson said. “We’re not going to old existing jails. We’re going to some that have had some type of activity with regard to expansion.”

At the facilities, Thompson said commissioners have been getting an indication of the work various architects and contractors have done.

“And what (officials in the other counties) would have done different,” Thompson said. “We’re still just gathering information,”

Also today, commissioners are scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Courtroom at the Erath County Courthouse to, among other things:

Open RFQs for an architect for the old Long Hotel, a building the county plans on renovating for additional office space, and Discuss an agreement with Cross Timbers Title.

DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.