Thursday, June 20 2013 12:09 AM EDT2013-06-20 04:09:02 GMT
The Albany Water Gas and light commission is preparing customers for a change that starts soon for those who pay with debit or credit cards. WG&L leaders say the utility is paying $20,000 dollars a monthMore >>
The Albany Water Gas and light commission is preparing customers for a change that starts soon for those who pay with debit or credit cards.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 11:41 PM EDT2013-06-20 03:41:18 GMT
An Albany man who was born when Woodrow Wilson was president celebrated his birthday today. Century Pines Assisted Living Center threw a party for resident Charles Walker who turned 101 today. Walker wasMore >>
An Albany man who was born when Woodrow Wilson was president celebrated his birthday today.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 11:34 PM EDT2013-06-20 03:34:54 GMT
For years, the area right across the street from the RiverQuarium has been rundown, but that's changing. A couple of businesses are thriving there. The new art park is open, and a sidewalk improvementMore >>
For years, the area right across the street from the RiverQuarium has been rundown, but that's changing.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 11:20 PM EDT2013-06-20 03:20:33 GMT
Downtown Albany leaders are looking for ways to make sure the Flint Riverquarium remains an important part of downtown for years to come. Tonight, The Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority board began discussionsMore >>
Downtown Albany leaders are looking for ways to make sure the Flint Riverquarium remains an important part of downtown for years to come.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 6:51 PM EDT2013-06-19 22:51:07 GMT
Ravi Mikel Givens was arrested Tuesday and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He is being held in the Dougherty County jail. Givens, who played ball at Westover and StetsonMore >>
Agents say that police responded to the apartment because of a burglar alarm. Officers found the back door broken open and went inside. That's where they detected a strong odor of marijuana, and saw pot in plain view.More >>
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
The Dougherty County jail inmate population is down to its lowest average level in three years, and that's Good news for taxpayers.
Sheriff's Office officials and prosecutors say they're making the justice system more efficient. The numbers show that effort is working.
The jail is the biggest budget item in Dougherty County's general fund at $13.2 million. Officials say cooperation to cut the inmate population is a big help in fighting that huge cost to the community.
Behind those locked doors at the Dougherty County jail, in August 2010 the average inmate population was close to one thousand people, almost one percent of the entire county population.
But in December 2012 that average inmate population was down to "Most jails are overcrowded, or at least at capacity. We're well below capacity. We're charging fewer dollars to taxpayers than just about any time in my career," said Jail Director Colonel John Ostrander.
Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards says all the court officials, law enforcement, and state agencies involved, are working together to speed up justice. "We can get the most efficient court time and move people out of the pre-trial detainee stage that costs the county and citizens money, to a stage from that point where they are part of the state system."
Today the jail is well below its maximum population of 1230. One of their 15 pods is empty, so maintenance is being done on the empty one at a much reduced cost. The District Attorney says reducing the jail population during tough budget times has to also keep public safety first.
"It's a balancing act," Edwards said. "We want to make sure all the people who need to be incarcerated, those who are a direct threat to the safety of our population and property, be in jail."
Sheriff's officials say they know taxpayers see the jail as a necessary expense, but one they would love to reduce. "It they had a choice where their tax dollars are going to go, they would much rather it go to education," Ostrander said.
And both the D.A. and Sheriff's officials say drug addiction and mental health issues are the biggest factor for inmates that repeatedly end up locked up. They agree getting the community better educated, with better jobs, is the best way to reduce the jail population even further.
With state law changing many more felony crimes to misdemeanors, the population of county jails is expected to increase soon, as more offenders serve their time in county jails rather than state prison.
But Dougherty County officials say they are optimistic they can continue to reduce the jail population here. Every month the average jail population is sent to court and law enforcement officials to keep them up to date on how their efforts are working.