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Grand Jury tells County jail needs more capacity, repairs


By Alton Mitchell

The Chambers County Jail has been the topic of many discussions in public meetings in Chambers County recently. These have included County Commission meetings, City Council meetings, and stories in press community. Many of those discussions have centered on finances of the jail and how to fund much needed repairs to aging facility. Some of those needed repairs were addressed in another discussion this past week.

The Chambers County Grand Jury recently toured and inspected the Sheriff James C. Morgan Detention Facility in LaFayette as well as the Chambers County Courthouse. During their tour and inspection the panel created a list of recommendations for repairs and improvements to each facility.
Those recommended repairs for the jail included; recommendations for a new detention facility with greater capacity and issues with improving plumbing in the county detention center was also noted.
Repairs were also recommended for the county courthouse those included; plumbing improvements needed, the need for hot water in all areas of the courthouse, improvements to janitorial services in the courthouse, flooring repairs to the clerk’s office, and improvements in lighting in the courthouse is also recommended.

The Chambers County jail has faced several challenges recently including overcrowding. County Commissioners have sought solutions to the overcrowding at the jail that have included the possibility of building out on land surrounding the jail for a new dormitory for low level offenders. The age of jail has also cause normal wear on the building including those problems associated with plumbing issues in the building.

Just last month the County Commission implemented a measure that began charging municipalities are higher fee for housing their inmates in the jail. This change in fees cost the cities of LaFayette, Lanett, and Valley to have to pay more to keep inmates in the jail. The Grand Jury’s recommendations go in line with many of topics already being discussed about the facility. Chambers County Commissioners continue to look for the best solutions to ease the problems and the information provided by the grand jury put more of a pinpoint on the needed changes.