Covington Co. Commission Agrees To Explore Jail Expansion


By Catalina Trivino

The Covington County Commission is exploring the possibility of expanding the county jail -- that's because there are too many female inmates... and not enough space.

County officials say they will research other jails to see what options they have in terms of design. They hope to bid on an architect within the next year.



Covington County officials say in the last few years, they've seen a change in demographics at the county jail with more women being incarcerated. They say the women's section is overcrowded... and has been for some time.

Behind this door is the women's section at the Covington County Jail -- cameras were not allowed in the dormitories.

The jail is designed to hold 24 women. On Wednesday, there were 39. The jail has held up to 52 women in the last month, making some county officials concerned about space.

"It's very over-crowded, they don't have any privacy, they're sleeping on mats, or portable cots on the floor, they're very cramped, they don't have anywhere to store their items that they're allowed to have in the back," Said Covington County Chief Deputy, David Anderson.

So now, county is exploring their options of expanding the women's section of the jail. Bill Godwin, who's the Chairman of the Covington County Commission, says the cramped conditions are causing many complaints.

"We got a letter from our liability carrier raising a red flag because they feel like the overcrowded has contributed to some of the lawsuits that we're experiencing," Said Chairman of the Covington County Commission, Bill Godwin.

Godwin says ideally, he'd like double their capacity -- adding 24 more beds to the women's section. It would be built on their recreation property. He says the next step is finding an architect to look at the facility.

"In my opinion, we need to build the thing that will cost us the least amount of money. It would be a dormitory style unit," Said Godwin.

It's too early to know about how much the project will cost, but Godwin says they'll start looking for architects this week.

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