Thomas County Prison can't afford to double inmates -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Thomas County Prison can't afford to double inmates

September 25, 2007

Thomasville-- In a visit to the prison earlier this month, the Commissioner of the State Corrections Department proposed they take in 200 additional inmates to help with the growing population of prisoners statewide.  But the acting warden and the county board of commissioners say they can't afford it; they have a counter-proposal for the state.   

With 165 state prisoners, and 31 from the county, Thomas county prison is already almost at maximum capacity for the 200-bed facility.  That number would double with the offer from the state to build structures called Quonset huts on the prison grounds. "Its a steel hut type facility. They want us to take those for 200 beds to alleviate the population right now," explains acting Warden for the prison, Robert Geer.

While the addition would give the county more prisoners for work details, the warden says they simply can't afford to take them in.  "Well, we'd have a work force but at this time the number for 200 is just a little bit too steep for us right now, as far as the cost and the work availability for them," Geer says.

The prison gets 20 for each inmate housed there per day, but the warden says that payment isn't sufficient for what the extra inmates would cost them.    "Improve the kitchen and new equipment costs a lot of money in a kitchen. Medical. It just goes on and on and on," says Geer.  At least 4 or 5 additional people would have to be hired as well.

The warden hopes they can reach a compromise to take in fewer inmates.  "The county board wants to ask for 50 and that's what we're going to do ask for 50 inmates and the grant to build that dormitory," Geer explains.  He says that number would allow them to help out the State Corrections Department, while maintaining a responsible amount of growth for their own prison. 

Corrections Commissioner James Donald estimates by 2011 the state will need an additional 11,000 beds for the state's prison population.




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