What are the next steps in getting a new jail in Lauderdale County?

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 9:49 PM CDT
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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - The sheriff in Lauderdale County believes it’s time to replace the aging and overcrowded jail.

Plans have already been drawn and reviewed for its replacement, but nothing is finalized.

“That’s the problem with where we are at. When that jail was built, it was built to meet the needs of today and it wasn’t designed or built for future expansion,” said Lauderdale County Sheriff, Rick Singleton.

The Lauderdale County Jail wasn’t built for the number of inmates it takes in today according to Sheriff Singleton

“When you build a facility like this you need to build it with the life expectancy of hopefully 40 to 50 years. So what will be the needs 30 to 40 years from now?”

We’ve been on your side with multiple stories about overcrowding issues in the facility. Singleton said overcrowding sparked a renewed discussion to replace the jail.

“When the issue came up this time it wasn’t that I contacted you guys, you guys called me and asked what’s the deal and it involved talking about the discussions we’ve had over the last six years for a new, bigger facility,” said Singleton.

But as of right now, it’s a problem with no solution.

“The reality is we need to be in it today. We haven’t even had serious discussions about starting the process and it always comes back to the funding,” said Singleton.

The project is projected at $45 million, a price that the county commission says is too high. But Singleton said it boils down to one thing.

“That’s the real challenge for our commissioners is where are they going to come up with the money to build a new jail. Whether it’s $20 million or $45 million whatever that cost figure is where are they going to pay for it and the answer is they are going to get it from taxes and eventually they are going to have to do it,” said Singleton.

Right now, to alleviate overcrowding, deputies are placing some offenders in the work release center.

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