WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Beaufort County officials are weighing options on how to renovate the county jail.
Beaufort County’s Jail Committee is making a recommendation to commissioners to ask state legislators for funds for renovations.
“It just isn’t meeting the current needs that we have,” John Rebholz, Beaufort County commissioner and chair of the Jail Committee, said. “For example, there is no sallyport which is you drive a Sheriff’s vehicle and you close the doors at both ends, and the nurses in medical are very cramped.”
With four options to consider, some commissioners have different opinions on what to do with it.
Those options include doing nothing to the jail, renovating the existing jail, adding a floor or two to the back of the courthouse, or building a brand new facility.
“Personally I voted for the two-story addition,” Rebholz said. “I think it solves all our real problems with the exception of that jail is still susceptible if a hurricane comes, it’s two blocks from the river, and it’s partially underground.”
Beaufort County Register of Deeds Carolyn Garris supports these renovations. For her department, space is an issue.
“Staff is very tight and it’s unnerving sometimes,” Garris added. “We’re sharing storage space with the Sheriff’s Office where they put their mattresses.”
Beaufort County Sheriff Scott Hammonds says their classification system is limited, meaning those who commit soft crimes share a cell with those who commit harder crimes.
“Makeshift with other cells like individual cells, we have to consolidate the harder criminals and we sometimes have to separate co-defendants into classifications,” Hammonds said. “That’s where we’re limited and sometimes crippling.”
Rebholz said right now, one commissioner is voting to add a single-story addition, four want to add a two-story addition, and one wants the sheriff’s office and 9-1-1 center off-site.