Local News

Wake County Sheriff Proposes Solution to Jail Overcrowding

Posted May 18, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Wake County sheriff John Baker is describing the state of his jail as critical and explosive.

Baker says the intake center at the Public Safety Detention Facility is now processing 3,000 inmates each month -- three times the original intended amount.

In an internal memo to Wake County commissioners, Baker warns: "We currently have a critical and explosive situation in the detention facility at the Wake County Public Safety Center due to overcrowding."

Baker's solution is to lease part of an old Winn-Dixie warehouse on South Wilmington Street.

It is a block from Barbara Woodard's house, but she does not mind.

"I don't have a problem with it because I think everybody needs a second chance," says Woodard.

Baker says the refurbished facility will house minimum to medium security inmates, such as those facing DWI and larceny charges, as well as prisoners in work-release programs.

While it may look good on paper, County Commissioner Yvonne Brannon says money talks, and right now the county is strapped for it.

"Being a county agency, we have to make sure there's no abestos, that we're not in the flood plain, that any site we choose is safe and that it is cost effective," Brannon says.

Commissioner Chairman Vernon Malone says that based on the county's budgetary constraints, he does not see the county taking on any major capital project, which retro-fitting the Winn-Dixie warehouse would be.