Article published June 24, 1966
County Jail's Best Solution: New BuildingFRED RIGSBEE, Staff Writer
Should Spartanburg County build a new jail?
A preliminary $2,000 study by Lockwood Greene Engineers, Inc., recommends this be given serious consideration.
The report, compiled at the request of a Delegation - Board of Control Committee, says in part:
The Jail Study Committee, which is headed by Sen. Charles C. Moore, asked the engineering company to make two separate surveys. One deals with the renovation of the existing facility to improve its security and to prevent prisoners from shouting out the jail windows to passersby. The other proposes using the ground floor of the existing facility plus the addition to a two-story maximum security facility. Security of the ground floor would also be improved under the second plan.
Lockwood Greene Engineers estimates it would cost $397,187 to renovate the existing facility; and $1,171,334 to renovate the ground floor and make the 13,650 square foot addition as called for in plan two.
The first plan would reduce the facility's present accommodations of 110 prisoners to 102. An addition would provide accommodations for 120 prisoners.
According to the engineers, $397,187 would buy only a minimum solution to the serious problem of security, control and lack of certain spaces presented by the jail as it exists.
If the plan calling for the addition of a maximum security wing were adopted, it would then make the present second floor of the jail available for courthouse office space.
Ever since the jail was completed in 1958, it has presented security problems. Numerous studies have been made of the facility with the idea of providing it with greater security. Several months ago, steel plating was installed in some cells and bullet-proof glass now encloses the dispatcher's office in the jail.
Prisoners have escaped from the facility by digging out wall mortar with a spoon; pulling the construction blocks of the wall out by tugging on the plumbing fixtures; and one has even escaped by sawing his way out with hacksaw blades fished into his cell from outside the jail.
Some visitors stand outside the jail and shout to the inmates. The inmates shout back to the visitors. Courthouse officials often receive complaints from women at whom prisoners shout insults while walking past the jail.
Sen. Moore, who has not yet seen a copy of the report says he will call a meeting of the Jail Study Committee soon to consider the engineers' report and preliminary plans.
The reporter who notified Sen. Moore of the report quoted the estimated costs of the projects to the senator.
"You must be pulling my leg," the senator responded.