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New jail for Esc. Co. brings more issues to solve

Another industrial project is underway in Brewton except this one is expected to bring little to no economic benefit to the city. The county commission recently gave Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson permission to look into the possibility of purchasing 80-acres across from Southern Pine Electric Cooperative on Highway 31 to build the new Escambia County Jail on.

Jackson said if the county doesn’t build a bigger jail, the federal government will step in to make sure something is done.

 

Jackson said that the final analysis by PH&J Architects found that the current Escambia County Jail is not suitable to house the number of inmates it is holding and that adding onto the building is not an option. Jackson said the facility was made for 126 inmates, but it’s been housing from 275 to 340 inmates every day. Jackson said the only option for the county is to build a bigger jail on another piece of land in the Brewton area.

 

Jackson said that building the new jail will not contribute to the area and create little to no jobs.

 

“That’s the bad part,” Jackson said. “The jail doesn’t bring anything to the community other than inmates.”

 

Jackson said that even though the new jail is expected to have 550 beds, which is almost four times the original jail’s number of beds, the jail will most likely not hire more than a few extra guards because the number of inmates the jail plans to deal with is not much more than the jail already deals with currently. Jackson also said that the addition of new surveillance technology in the jail will help the correctional officers patrol the area with guards.

 

Jackson said he does plan to house more federal inmates to help pay for the facility. The county currently receives about $1 million for housing 50 federal inmates. Jackson said he plans to increase that number to 200, which could raise an estimated $4 million.

 

“If we up the number of federal inmates, it will help pay for the facility and take that burden off of the local taxpayers,” Jackson said. “It helps the county.”