Henry County Sheriff emphasizes the need for a new jail

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HENRY COUNTY (WSLS10) - "It is very apparent that this facility cannot continue operating as it has been doing," said Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry.

The sheriff's office has more than 200 people incarcerated and Perry said that number increases each year.

But the jail, which is more than 40 years old, can only hold about 75 people and it's costing county tax payers a lot of money.

The sheriff's office has no choice but to house the excess inmates in other jails, which costs between $25 and $35 per inmate per day.

On top of that, the jail is falling into disrepair.

"It's used 24 hours a day and it's not functioning as it should," Perry explained. "The plumbing's breaking down. There are other things breaking down."

He said the biggest need is for more space as the county will then no longer have to pay to outsource inmates and will be able to better rehabilitate them.

"We can have more interaction. There can be more done with life-skills teaching," continued Perry. He added that currently, there is almost no room for interaction between the inmates and the jail employees, counselors and others who try to work with the inmates to help rehabilitate them.

The county administration office is sending out public notices this week asking for people to submit offers for land that they would be willing to use to build a new jail.

"If there is available land that the landowners would consider being part of the deal then that's certainly something we would want to know about," said County Administrator Tim Hall.

So far, there is no plan to build a new sheriff's office, only a jail.

"We're kind of hopeful that if we do build a new jail, it will be in close proximity so that we can share some space, be close to the courthouse, and that sort of thing," Hall explained.

Land offers will be accepted through May 2.

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