Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

More Jail Beds Sought in Glynn; Still to Be Decided Is Whether It's a New Facility or an Addition to the Old One

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

More Jail Beds Sought in Glynn; Still to Be Decided Is Whether It's a New Facility or an Addition to the Old One

Article excerpt

Byline: TERRY DICKSON

BRUNSWICK -- If judges get their way, Glynn County will build a new jail close to the county courthouse and existing overcrowded facility.

It remains to be seen, however, if the county will get the desired 258 additional beds by adding on to the 18-year-old jail or constructing a separate facility nearby. That decision could be made at tonight's Glynn County Commission meeting at the historic courthouse.

There is no debate that the Glynn County Detention Center is overcrowded. When the jail opened in April 1989, Sheriff Thomas "Slick'' Jones had more inmates than beds. The county double-bunked some cells to increase the beds from 188 to 224. The jail now has 344 beds, but as of Wednesday had 444 inmates, Undersheriff Ron Corbett said. The county is paying other counties to house 17 of those, he said.

Superior Court Judge Amanda Williams and State Court Judge Orion Douglas both said during a County Commission work session on St. Simons Island they want the jail to be close by so as to not compromise the efficiency of their courts.

On some hearing days, about 70 inmates come across Reynolds Street from the jail to the courthouse, Williams said.

Sometimes, she has to ask deputy sheriffs to bring a few additional inmates to hearings, Williams said.

"If the jail location is off site that would not be possible," she said.

On some arraignment days, there are more than 180 inmates on the calendar, which is nearly half the jail population, she said.

Douglas also said his court works efficiently partly because of the ease of getting inmates into the courtroom, but he also expressed concern about the potential design of a new jail.

The jail architecture should not be too stark and not intrude on the vista of the courthouse grounds, among the most beautiful in the state, Douglas said.

"I hate for the flavor of it to be all penal," he said. …

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