Morgan County, Decatur negotiate jail merger - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Morgan County, Decatur negotiate jail merger

The county and the city are negotiating a deal that would put city inmates in the county jail. The county and the city are negotiating a deal that would put city inmates in the county jail.
MORGAN COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

The new addition coming to the Morgan County Jail could mean the end of the Decatur City Jail. The county and the city are negotiating a deal that would put city inmates in the county jail.

Morgan County Commission Chair Ray Long said they have been negotiating for about a month.

The county hopes to break ground for the new annex by the end of February. If a deal is worked out, it will change the design and the cost of the addition.

Inmates in the city jail are misdemeanor offenders, and the county jail annex will hold lower-risk offenders. Long said that makes it a good fit.

"We're building anyway. And so it just makes sense for them to come on board with us while we're doing it and not have jails scattered out everywhere. There ought to be one jail anyway. We've been negotiating now roughly a month on the numbers and getting all the details worked out," Long said.

He said the cost estimate for the annex could rise from $3-million to around $5-million if an extra third floor is added to house up to 120 city inmates.

The city would pay the county a fee for each inmate per day. Somerville and Priceville pay the county $23 per day for their inmates to be held in the Morgan County Jail. Long said the city would also likely have to help with the additional construction costs.

The Decatur Police Department is in need of space. The city jail sits on top of the department, and they have to rent some offices in other buildings. If the jail is eliminated, the police department could rebuild the space.

Long said the city jail is also in need of a major upgrade that would be no longer needed if the inmates move to the Morgan County Jail.

"Their jail now is in a state that's going to need a lot of repairs and they're looking at probably spending a million or so in repairs if they don't do this, and they have the operation cost that's normal with the jail anyway. So they're going to be freeing up a lot of money and space if they don't have to redo theirs," he said.

County officials want the annex to be completed within the next 13 months.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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