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Beaufort County jail location causes controversy

By Jamie Hicks
Published On: Apr 01 2013 11:18:47 PM CDT
WASHINGTON, BEAUFORT COUNTY -

Beaufort County Commissioners are discussing a new jail location, and not without some controversy.

Jail officials say they desperately need a change from the facility they use now.

Beaufort County Commissioners are considering two locations for the new jail, but they are split when it comes to agreeing on the same location.

One location is the parking lot behind the court house , right next to where the jail is now.

The other location is the Beaufort County Industrial Park, which is co-owned by the City of Washington.

Sheriff Alan Jordan said he just wants a new detention center that is safe for everyone.

"I admire and commend my men and women who dedicate themselves to working at that jail because it really is a juggling act every day," said Sheriff Jordan.

The facility is located underneath the court house. The sheriff said the jail was built in the 1970's and has its problems.

"It's got a lot of drawbacks not to mention prone to flooding and we have hard time maintaining temperature," said Sheriff Jordan.

He said maximum capacity is 85 inmates. Right now the detention center is housing 92.

Commissioner Hood Richardson believes the jail should not be moved from downtown Beaufort County.

"Moving the jail off of this site right behind the court house is not an option for me at all, because the jail can be built here,” said Commissioner Richardson. “ It can be built at a competitive price."

Chairman Jerry Langley disagrees and said it's time for Beaufort County to move forward with a new jail at the Industrial Park.

"What we have now is a jail that is land-locked and basically what you're going to do with the proposal you heard earlier is just that same situation again," said Chairman Langley.

 Commissioners said there's no word on when they will have the final vote on the issue.