Colquitt County Jail needs expansion - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Colquitt County Jail needs expansion

January 4, 2006

Colquitt County - More than 42,000 people live in Colquitt County, up about 6,000 from 1990, when the current jail was built.

"I remember when we first moved into this facility, we thought about how much room we had, but we have certainly outgrown all of our space here," says Sheriff Al Whittington. He says overcrowding at the jail is linked to the boom in population.

"If we have more good folks moving to Colquitt County," says Whittington, "We have more bad ones too."

Specifically, more inmates who are women. Whittington says, "The biggest problem we're having now, I think, is females, because we weren't equipped to handle that many females."

Based on the original design of the jail, there was space for 10 women. Today, 16 female inmates are housed here, and that's down from about 30 this time last month. Sometimes, there are so many, they have to sleep on the floor. Whittington says, "We tell them the only difference between sleeping on the floor and sleeping on a bunk is about 14 inches."

But the difference in overcrowding and accommodating, could be millions of dollars, money Whittington is prepared to go to before the commission, and to citizens to request.

A Grand Jury recommended putting more deputies on the streets to patrol areas, so officers can be proactive, rather than simply responding to calls.

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