Jones County jail gets upgrade to prevent overcrowding

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GRAY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — The new female wing at the Jones County Detention Center will help daily operations run a little smoother. Before the addition, inmates — both men and women — had to share common areas.

Chief Earl Humphries said, “We would just swap out times when they would have that access.”

He says the detention center can now hold more inmates without overcrowding. The Jones County jail holds federal and state inmates — both women and men.

“Probation violation and stuff like that determines where an inmate is housed or not,” Humphries said.

The new wing costs roughly $1.6 million. The county’s SPLOST funds paid for the project. It serves as the main cell block for women inmates. 

Humphries says before the completion of the new space, the jail could only hold 16 women.  But it can now hold up to 40 women.

The wing can hold up to 40 beds, an area to eat and shower, a day room, and an opportunity to see loved ones, according to Humphries. He deems video calls “a privilege”, however, it lessens the need for jail staff during the pandemic. 

Humphries says when Covid first hit, the jail used FEMA trailers to quarantine non-violent offenders. Thankfully, no inmates tested positive for the virus. 

The jail currently has over 100 deputies and can hold around 160 inmates. 

“We treat the inmates with respect and security then we generally don’t have any problems,” he said.

Chief Humphries says they have been working on this plan for a while and it took a year to complete.