Officials address overcrowding at jail

Local News

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — After Hurricane Michael, a countless number of people were forced to relocate but one place in Bay County is still seeing large numbers of tenants — the County Jail.

Over the last seven years, the number of inmates in jail continues to increase. The average number of inmates in 2012 was 919. Just six years later, that number jumped to 1,120.

Major Rick Anglin says they’re seeing more of an issue in the women’s dorms but work is already happening to fix it. “One of the things the county’s been working on with us for the last couple of years is building a new female dorm.”

He says the first phase of the new dorm is complete and will be open in the coming weeks. Phase two and three will follow soon after.

Anglin says when it comes to overcrowding, having enough beds isn’t the issue. “Where the challenges come in is specialty units. Units like your mental health units, your medical unit.”

Another issue he says they’re having is a rise in those needing help with substance abuse but working with the sheriff and county, anew dorm has been proposed. Anglin says the male dorm will have about 150 beds and will be solely designed to help with substance abuse.

He says while this will help those currently incarcerated, he hopes it will have a lasting impact.

“Hopefully it’s going to help out the community because a lot of what we’re seeing in the jail population is directly related to substance abuse.”

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