The new sheriff in Franklin County says the adult detention facility there has a problem - it is out of room.
"We are busting at the seams at our detention facility," said Sheriff Steve Pelton. "We have a 130 bed facility. Last year our average daily population was 138. Keep in mind, that's an average so our max day, we had 164 inmates."
The issue is two-fold.
"Overcrowding has a tendency to make tempers flare a little bit. Not with the staff but with the inmates. We also want to stay in compliance with ACA which is the Correctional Institution guidelines. It's important we stay in compliance and protect their rights as well as make sure they have a safe environment," said Pelton.
The sheriff said there are several factors contributing to the increase in inmates.
"It's not necessarily because Franklin County is a dangerous place," said Pelton, noting that the population in Franklin County has grown from 75,000 when the facility was built in the 1980's to about 105,000 now. "As you can see, as population increases, crime increases. As law enforcement increases, more people are taken off the streets."
Now, the sheriff is working on a plan to accommodate more inmates.
"We want to utilize 2017 to do some research and figure out what is the best approach and what avenue we need to take. I think it's important to be fiscally responsible. Whether that's going to be an addition built within the confined walls we have now, whether that's a wing, or brick and mortar, I can't give you a fair assumption now because I want to do the research first," said Pelton.
The sheriff says he hopes to have a plan in place by the end of the year.
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