With the current jail steadily full, Madison County Sheriff Kip Thomas proposes to double the capacity of the county’s inmate detention facility.
Thomas spoke at a Madison County Jail committee meeting Monday morning, giving an overview of a proposed blueprint for an expansion from 64 to 128 beds. The jail would increase from two to four pod units.
“Basically, this is just finishing what was started,” said Thomas of the project.
The two-pod Madison County Jail off Hwy. 98 was completed in July 2003. The previous jail had been an undersized 16-bed facility in downtown Danielsville. The Hwy. 98 jail construction was funded with $3.2 million in sales tax funds from the 1998 special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST). The project took over two years to complete and included a number of construction issues, with the county ultimately taking the builders to court to get the problems corrected.
Jail committee officials aim to avoid such problems with the proposed additions to that facility. Madison County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Shawn Burns said doubling the size of the jail from two to four pods will be a simpler process than starting from scratch. He noted that the county can purchase pre-fabricated pods and weld them to the existing structures. Burns added that core jail structures are already in place.
“We’re not adding a kitchen or a booking facility, so we can’t compare this to what it costs to put in a new jail,” he said.
Sheriff Thomas said he has submitted the proposed expansion blueprint to three jail construction companies. Commissioner Stanley Thomas said he felt other companies might be interested in bidding on the job and committee members seemed to agree that the county should seek “requests for proposals” from various companies that may be interested in the work.