Sheriff: Jail still has county inmates

Published 9:48 pm Monday, May 15, 2006

About 10 state prisoners in the Escambia County Jail are ready to be moved to state facilities - but there isn't any room, Sheriff Grover Smith said.
But a judge has ordered Alabama prison system Commissioner Richard Allen to remove nearly 200 state inmates from county jails by May 31 - or face jail time himself, according to The Associated Press.
The commissioner was ordered to remove 185 state prisoners and another 200 inmates from backlogged jails by June 27 and have the entire backlog cleared by Sept 5, AP reported.
Smith said that, at one point, there were 2,000 state inmates in county jails across the state.
State inmates are supposed to be removed from county jails within 30 days after sentencing, Smith said.
The sheriff's department receives transcripts from the judge, he said, and in return will send the transcripts to the state prison system, but the state system will not accept prisoners until the 30 days has lapsed.
Smith said the Escambia County Detention Center typically holds about 15 to 20 state prisoners who fall under those categories. While he didn't have an exact count of how many state prisoners the detention center was holding, he said about 10 are ready to be transferred to the state prison.
However, the state prison in Atmore is at full capacity, and state prison officials say there aren't enough beds to currently house more inmates, Smith said. He said the reason is primarily because state inmates do not qualify to be held in a minimum-security setting. To make room for state inmates at the detention center, the other inmates are paroled to the minimum security or work release programs.
According to the order by Circuit Judge William Shashy, the state Department of Corrections must immediately accept 75 state inmates per week. Also, counties and sheriffs will be allowed to send up to 200 more inmates to the state system.