Assessment to be done for new jail

Published 9:37 am Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Franklin Furnace facility still temporary option

In a unanimous vote by all three county commissioners at the last Lawrence County Commission meeting, it was approved to have a needs assessment done for a new county jail.

Recently, county officials, including Lawrence County commissioners DeAnna Holliday and Colton Copley, as well as Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless, met with members of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Columbus to discuss the process that they have gone through as they are now in the process of building a new jail.

“Theirs is on a much larger scale than we are here,” Holliday said. “But we were able to hear about the process that they went through because we want to get everything that we need done for this jail right.”

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Holliday added that the commission has money set aside in its budget specifically for jail needs, which the assessment cost will come out of. Currently, there is no specific assessment chosen with a cost, but it was just approved to have one completed eventually.

“The assessment would only be for the new jail that would potentially be built here,” she said. “We’re going through this thorough process to get the building of the jail just right. We want to find out what we need, not just what we think we need.”

The county is still waiting to hear back from Franklin County on different companies and firms that could be used for the study and quotes for costs associated with such.

Holliday also said that the Liberation building at the STAR Community Justice Center in Franklin Furnace is still a temporary option, instead of sending prisoners out of county in the near future.

“We’re still looking at utilizing the STAR facility for an option, which would be operated by STAR,” she said. “STAR is putting together a package for us that would include incarceration, rehabilitation and counseling, and they would also provide transportation.”

Holliday added that it would cost around $55 per day per prisoner, which is lower than what the county is paying now to transport prisoners out of the county. She also said that if Lawrence County would utilize the STAR facility, it would not be the only county doing so.

“And that way it would meet two needs that we have; incarceration and counseling and rehabilitation all in one,” she said. “It is a much closer solution with more benefits.”


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