Local News


New jail designed for efficiency, safety

By MICHAEL HALL The Brunswick News

Glynn County Sheriff Neal Jump and Maj. Mike Heath are looking forward to moving out of what has become an outdated and poorly designed jail at the foot of downtown Brunswick and settling in their new headquarters at the larger Glynn County Detention Center under construction on Ross Road.

If construction of the $28 million goes according to schedule, the sheriff and inmates will make the move in the spring of 2014.

The current jail, built in 1989, has a maze-like design and is no longer the state-of-the-art design it once was, making supervising accused and convicted criminals inside more difficult than it has to be. It also lacks the space to handle the county's incarceration needs.

The new jail should correct those problems.

"The only thing that will be the same is that there will be bunks and people in the cells," Jump said during a recent tour of the ongoing construction project.

The new detention center campus will feature the primary administration building, which will house the headquarters of the Sheriff's Office, and three other buildings, connected by long hallways, that will quarter as many as 610 inmates, Heath said.

As construction has progressed, Heath, whose primary job is supervising jail operations, and other deputies have worked closely with architects and contractors to make sure every step is being taken to ensure the safety of both inmates and guards.

That means everything from the design of the booking area, visitation area, kitchen and infirmary to the layout of the cell blocks has been updated to make supervising inmates more efficient.

The larger facility, as well as some new regulations that did not exist when the current jail was built, will necessitate the need to add five new guards to the jail staff, Jump said.

Jump has been in negotiations with state and federal agencies who will pay nearly $50 a day per bed to house criminals from out of town to help with operational expenses.

* Reporter Michael Hall writes about public safety, environment and other local topics. Contact him at mhall@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 320.