Posted: Nov 14, 2012 6:29 PM
Updated: Nov 14, 2012 11:48 PM
EDINBURG - The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Department is on the heels of 64 parents who owe a total of $1.1 million in child support.
The county teamed up with the Texas Attorney General to round up the parents.
Deputies arrested some 24 parents, but the arrests created a new problem, officials said.
"In my opinion, (they) need to be in jail, (but) it's not helping my overcrowding problem either," Hidalgo County Sheriff Guadalupe Trevino said.
State jail records show the Hidalgo County jail is at 90 percent of its capacity.
The deadbeat parents could be sentenced to six months behind bars, compounding the population problem.
The Texas Attorney General's Office said the parents appeared before judges multiple times and were given payment plans. The parents didn't pay and now they must face jail time, officials said.
"We need to put them in jail. We need to send a message. If you owe money on child support, pay it or somebody's going to be knocking on your door," Trevino said.
A judge may set bond for each parent. Bonds can range from $500 to $10,000, officials said.
State officials said the bond money will go directly to the children and the parents who are owed the money.
Deadbeat parents may also lose their driver and hunting licenses and their passports could be suspended. Bank accounts also may be frozen and tax refunds could be sent directly to the children. Property also could be seized, officials said.
The penalties kick in when a parent falls behind on child support by at least $500.