Article published November 18, 2003
Jail expansion needed, director saysBy TONY TAYLOR, Staff Writer
The Spartanburg County Jail needs to undergo a 315-bed expansion to accommodate the rising number of detainees, jail director Larry Powers told County Council Monday.
Spartanburg County Council unanimously agreed to spend $35,000 to pay for a needs analysis and architectural plans detailing the size and scope of the expansion.
The results of the analysis should be completed in about 60 days.
County Administrator Jim Hartmann said the expansion would likely cost between $15 million and $20 million.
Hartmann said the expansion would be financed with general obligation bonds.
"We have the debt capacity to pay for the building without an increase in property taxes," Hartmann said.
Spartanburg County could issue up to $26 million in general obligation bonds without exceeding its debt limit, Hartmann said.
Powers told council members a larger jail is needed to relieve overcrowding at the current facility.
"We have averaged 165 inmates over our capacity since August," Powers said.
The county jail system houses inmates at three locations and can hold up to 586 prisoners.
Most inmates are held in the main jail on California Avenue, which has a capacity of 436 inmates.
The jail annex located on North Daniel Morgan Avenue has a capacity of 131 inmates, but it usually has an inmate population of between 175 and 189 daily.
The county was forced to reopen the old jail on Magnolia Street recently because of overcrowding. About 76 inmates are housed there.
Hartmann told council members that it was a matter of time before the three-jail system would be rendered ineffective.
"One way or another, we're going to reach our limit," Hartmann said. "Then it's a matter of releasing prisoners prematurely."
Tony Taylor can be reached at 562-7219 or email@example.com.