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Camden gets nod for jail efforts
WOODBINE -- The Association County Commissioners of Georgia has recognized Camden County for a program that lowered the inmate population at the county jail.

Lowering the inmate population is a result of the work of the Camden Criminal Justice Council, made up of prosecutors, judges, police chiefs from St. Marys, Woodbine and Kingsland, Camden Sheriff Jim Proctor, probation officers and other stakeholders.

They met as a group after the National Institute of Corrections conducted a jail and justice system assessment of the legal justice system in Camden County in 2010.

The criminal justice council implemented changes enabling the county to quickly move cases through the system and reduce the number of people held in the jail.

The jail once held as many as 200 inmates, some in makeshift cell blocks. The current inmate population is around 110 inmates. The jail's capacity is 121.

Camden County Administrator Steve Howard said his role on the council is to act as a conduit to make sure the county is doing everything possible to control the inmate population.

"It's really a model," Howard said of the program. "It's based on a concept others have done."

The program also uses new technology to improve communication between everyone involved in a case to move it quickly through the legal justice system.

Camden County is one of five counties in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit. Other counties are Glynn, Ware, Appling and Jeff Davis.

"It's exceeded expectations," Howard said. "Good communication is what it's all about."

Jail overcrowding in Glynn County has led to the construction of a larger detention center on U.S. 341 outside the city limits. The new jail is supposed to open in 2014.

Camden County was the only county to receive two awards at the ceremony. The county was also honored for its municipal employee wellness clinic, which serves county, Public Service Authority and St. Marys municipal employees.

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about Camden County and other local topics. Contact him at, on Facebook or at 464-7655.

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