July 30, 2014 Edition

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Adding prison not
solution for jail issues

Gretchen Hunt

While Lawrence County continues to have issues with overcrowding in its jail, adding a state prison in the county would not address that issue.

County Judge Dale Freeman said he has looked into the state’s plans to construct a new 1,000-bed prison and whether Lawrence County might have a site for that facility.

“They are looking to construct a maximum-security prison,” Freeman said. “We are not interested in any way in that.”

For many years, Lawrence County’s jail, which is designed to house 42 inmates, has had an overpopulation problem, with many of those housed being prisoners awaiting beds in the state prison system.

State prisoners held in Lawrence County, however, are not offenders that would be sent to a maximum-security facility.

So, county officials are faced with trying to either lower the population at the county jail or construct a new jail that can house more prisoners.

In the meantime, as solutions are sought to remedy the county jail overpopulation problem, Freeman emphasized that the county is not interested in locating the proposed prison here. “That is not the type of facility we want to have in our community.”

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