Local News

Wayne County's 2-Year-Old Jail Already Overcrowded

Posted December 8, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Whenever one hears about criminals being arrested or sent to prison, it's assumed that there's plenty of room for them in jail, but for at least one area community, that's not the case. Jailers in Wayne County are scrambling to find enough space for inmates.

Wayne County Jail Operations Lt. James Tadlock says jailers are concerned these days with keeping inmates content in crowded conditions.

The two year old Wayne County jail is already full. Jailers say new drunk driving and domestic violence laws, combined with structured sentencing, are landing more people behind bars.

The Wayne County staff supports the tougher laws, but they're struggling to find room for the extra tenants. They're even sending inmates to other jails. Ordinarily, they would be paid about $40 per day to keep them in Wayne County.

Until recently, that meant $1,100 a day for the federal prisoners alone, but with the lack of space inside, local suspects are taking up all the beds, and forcing the federal prisoners and their money to go somewhere else.

Jailers say they may even have to re-open the old jail that closed two years ago. Major Glenn Odom of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department says it's hoped they won't have to do that.

Jailers say an additional 100 beds would ease the immediate problem, but if the inmate population continues to climb, those beds will fill up. That would bring about a return of the crowding problem in just a few years.