BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - The towns of Elberta and Summerdale deal with a common problem: neither has a jail. Elberta police have to take their arrests to Foley before traveling to Bay Minette, and that isn’t cheap. It can take up to an hour to get all the way up to Bay Minette, and that’s time and resources some small municipalities just don’t have.
“Our average bill is about $3,500 a month to house prisoners at the Foley and that includes a meal or anything else, but we have anyone that has to go to the hospital we have to provide that transportation to and from the hospital, we have to sit with them and we have provide transportation to and from the municipal court,” Elberta Police Chief Stan DeVane said.
Officials from the two towns met with Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack to discuss the potential of opening another county jail.
“It would be a benefit to us. It would be closer, and we could a lot of times take felonies to a jail built south side as opposed to having to put them in Foley and then waiting for them to be transported,” DeVane said.
The addition of another county jail could also take some of the pressure off of the Bay Minette facility, which Mack told FOX10 last month is a growing problem.
“We have seen a genuine trend in the increase of our jail population in the last few years. The number of beds we have hasn't increased in the last 10 years,” Mack said.
County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey said it’s important to look into what would make the most logistical sense.
“We’ll kind of have to decipher the difference between expanding the current facility we have and the efficiency of running one facility versus, perhaps, the idea that’s being kicked around a little bit for discussion and thought to have a second facility in the south end of the county and what the economic benefits of that might be,” Dorsey said.
Whatever they decide, it’ll be a ways down the road before they’ll know what’s best.
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