Thomas prison wants more state prisoners - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thomas prison wants more state prisoners

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -  The warden says they're seeing a big decrease in county prisoners, and they need more people to boost their labor force and more money for housing state prisoners.

Thomas County Prison can house 198 inmates- 31 beds for county inmates, the other 165 are reserved for state prisoners.

But Warden Robert Greer wants more state prisoners, and fewer county prisoners, "I want 15 more to give me 180."

So He put in a request to the Georgia Department of Corrections. "We want to take 15 county beds and concert them to state beds. which would give us 120 per day. an increase of 110,000 per year."

Money that would go directly to the county government's general fund. But it's more than the money. The warden says they need extra hands working details.

"We need the labor. Because the numbers in the county beds are decreasing. And that's hurting our details."

The warden says the decrease comes from local judges no longer sentencing people to the local facility, instead they are sending them to state facilities. And that's because in the 2009 budget a $35,000 program was cut to save money - community service.

"By doing that the judges don't have the option anymore to sentence them to community service at the county prison."

Plus the state reimburses the county for state prisoner medical expenses. "We're just constantly trying to save the taxpayer money, reducing operational costs, and finding inventive ways to make money."

The wardens says they should find out in July if their request is granted, and county inmates have local connections and that can lead to more problems with people trying to bring banned items into the prison.

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