New Henry County jail study approved

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HENRY COUNTY (WSLS 10) - Henry County is taking the next step in the process of building a new jail.

Supervisors have given the go-ahead for a facility study of the current jail.

A community study was conducted earlier this year and determined the county needs to build a 400-bed jail.

Both studies are required to be completed and submitted to the Virginia Department of Corrections in order for the county to be eligible to receive funding from the DOC for the new jail.

The maximum municipalities can receive from the DOC is 25 percent of the total cost, which is what Henry County will be asking for.

The current jail is nearly 50 years old and falling into disrepair.

It can only house 67 inmates, but the county has more than 200, causing the county to pay up to $35 per day per excess inmate at a different jail.

"The consultant, Mosley Architects, will take the information from the community assessment and develop what type of facility, how it will be laid out, in order to meet that need," explained Henry County Deputy Administrator Dale Wagoner.

The facility study and the community study cost a combined $115,000, which came from the county's general fund.

Wagoner said the goal is for the facility study to be completed by the end of the year and both studies to be submitted to the DOC in January 2017, with the expectation that the DOC will review the studies throughout the year and inform the county in January 2018 how much funding will be awarded.

Building a regional jail is also something the county considered, but Wagoner explained that with the DOC only covering a maximum of 25 percent of the cost of a jail a regional jail would be too expensive.

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