Started and completed in 1909, at a cost of $7,500.00, the county jail on highway 82 across the street from the courthouse is of the same construction as the courthouse.Visitor Cell
Built by Pat Cornett, a master stonemason of native stone, the jail sees daily use.
Originally built with living quarters downstairs for the sheriff the two story building is now used as a sheriff´s office and jail.
Completely certified by the Texas Commission Jail Standards, the Dickens County Jail is one of the oldest jails in Texas to be fully certified.
Remodeled and renovated the jail has a capacity of 8 prisoners. Two women cells downstairs and four men cells on the second floor.
Built originally with a trap door and rings to hold the hanging rope, the hangman never used the tools of his trade in the Dickens jail. The trap door, with levers to spring the unfortunate prisoners, have been welded shut for many years. One ring in the ceiling still remains. It was ordered taken out by the jail inspector on one of his first visits after jails were required to be certified. His statement was, "It was cruel and unnecessary punishment for a prisoner to have to sit in his cell and view a ring used for a hangman´s noose". After being convinced of the historical value of this ring the subject was dropped and the ring remains.
Very few escapes have occurred at the Dickens jail. Sheriff Bill Arthur was murdered by prisoners and then they escaped and were later caught, tried and convicted. Once, three prisoners were in the upstairs cell and somehow managed to push a 2 x 6 loose on the roof of the jail. The next morning the jailer was feeding prisoners and noticed a wine bottle laying on the floor and after investigation found they had escaped on the roof of the jail, climbed down the radio tower and then caught a ride to a bootlegger, made their purchases, then returned and broke back into jail where they proceeded to drink up the wine they had bought. This was the jail break to occur at the Dickens County Jail.
Trap Door of the Jailhouse
This trap door was used for hangings in the early days.
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