08/24/08 — Duplin will study state of county jail

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Duplin will study state of county jail

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 24, 2008 12:19 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin County commissioners decided Monday morning more information is needed on overcrowding in the county before they spend money to design a new facility.

To that end, commissioners approved a $5,000 contract with Brennan Architects of Columbia, S.C., to update inmate population forecasts and conceptual plans provided in the firm's previous feasibility study for the county.

Overcrowding at the jail has been a problem for more than a year.

Sheriff Blake Wallace told commissioners at their Aug. 4 session that the jail is so overcrowded he has been forced to house 30 inmates in the Sampson County jail at a cost of $50 per inmate per day.

A state jail inspector has told the county it must do something to relieve jail overcrowding.

One option would be temporary modular units. Commissioners also have questioned Wallace about the use of electronic arrest.

Wallace said electronic arrest still requires staff to monitor the inmates. Also, he said he is concerned about public safety.

Commissioner Zettie Williams agreed. She said she does not support electronic arrest and that "people don't want it at their back door."

Commissioners had asked Wallace for options.

Under the contract approved Monday, Brennan Architects will update the inmate population forecast through 2030; update the inmate profile based on population sampling; update the space program in conjunction with representatives from the jail and Sheriff's Office; update the scope of a facility to accommodate forecasted bed capacity needs; and update conceptual design drawings.

The firm will also review and update recommended construction, project and operating budgets and recommended capital improvement budget.

It will also discuss financing options including leasing extra bed space to other counties.