Local News

Sampson County Inmates, Deputies Ready for New Jail

Posted January 12, 2007 5:34 p.m. EST
Updated January 12, 2007 9:14 p.m. EST

— There are 16 beds in one cell at the old Sampson County Jail, with 21 inmates needing places to sleep. Jail officials said as many as 30 people have shared the space.

Inmate Craig Simmons said he sleeps on a mattress on the floor.

"I've been here 11 months, and it's been overcrowded since I've been here,” Simmons said. “It's really not a good place for anyone to live."

But relief is only days away. Sampson County's new jail — an $11 million, state-of-the-art center — opens in February. Not only is the facility new and clean, but the cells will never hold more than four inmates at a time. The new facility will hold 252 inmates.

The old jail is 57 years old and was built for 93 inmates. Men and women inside the facility have found rest wherever they could — on tables and under bunk beds – and the county has also had to house some inmates in other area jails.

Those who have remained at the jail said they've shared some unusual company.

"There's some nights you put paper in your ears just to keep the roaches from going in your ears,” said inmate Adam Lockamy.

"We have a rat we call Augustus, he's been here so long," Simmons said.

The environment has also been unpleasant for sheriff’s deputies.

"We put everyone in the same cell, from larceny of a lawnmower to homicide,” said jail administrator Kemely Pickett. "It's hard for the staff to supervise those inmates."