The building of the new Douglas County jail was controversial. The sales tax referendum passed by only 32 votes. County voters were divided on the issue. What is even more controversial is what the county plans to do with several hundred empty beds. Some have claim the jail was over built and cost to much for the needs of Douglas County, a population of about 125,000.
A video recording from April 2007 shows Sheriff Phil Miller at a SPLOST town hall meeting where public officials were discussing the plans for a new jail. The plan being proposed was to build a $100 million-plus jail with 1500 beds which could be expanded to 3000 beds or more, according to county officials. Miller was asked why Douglas County needed such a large jail facility.
Phil Miller claimed the plan calls for 1500 beds and offered his own plan to deal with more than 700 empty beds the new facility will have. Miller wants to rent bed space to house state and federal criminals to “offset the cost of jail operations.”
The current jail has averaged about 750 inmates over the past few years. In September 2012 the jail population has reportedly dropped from over 800 inmates to 681. The county has housed more than 200 state prisoners, at taxpayers’ expense, when the state and other counties had room to accommodate these prisoners. According to open records request, Sheriff Miller never asked or demanded the state to remove these prisoners and passed the cost on to Douglas County taxpayers. Seventy two percent (72%) of Douglas County inmates are awaiting trial. Douglas taxpayers are responsible for 100% of the cost of these inmates including medical costs.
Derrick Broughton, candidate for sheriff of Douglas County said Miller’s plan to pack the jail with non-county inmates will end up costing Douglas County property owners more in property taxes due to the need to increase staff, medical and other related costs not covered by the reimbursements. The reimbursement costs may only cover one half (1/2) of the actual cost to house an inmate depending on the medical and special needs of the inmate.
Q: Who will cover the cost of an additional 700 prisoners in Douglas County Jail?
A: Douglas County Taxpayers – Property owners!
Derrick Broughton said the future of Douglas County should not be higher crime rates or renting bed space out to state or federal criminals at taxpayers’ expense.
“As sheriff I will work to lower the crime rate in Douglas County. Taxpayers are burdened enough. My goal is to reduce crime and the jail population not to continue to increase it. At a time when state officials are proposing alternatives that will reduce the prison/jail population, Douglas County is headed in the wrong direction. Renting out empty beds is not the solution and does nothing to reduce crime in Douglas County”, Broughton said.
For more information on the Campaign to Elect Derrick Broughton Sheriff visit www.Broughton2010.com