$3 Million Worth of Problems at the Alachua County Jail
It's not the million dollar question..but instead the 3 three million dollar request. Sheriff Sadie Darnell said that's how much money needs to be spent at the Alachua County jail to solve a variety of problems.
Sheriff Sadie Darnell said the jail is understaffed, overcrowded and in need of repair.
Captain Norman Adkins said, "You can get your hand and all the way in here, so this is where they put their contraband. So now we have to have the staff come in here and check areas like this everyday to see if there's cigarettes, marijuana, knives, shanks, things like that hidden inside these walls."
Adkins said this hole was found in June of 2009 and still isn't fixed. Just like a lot of other problems in the jail. He said, "We just replaced these doors, not long ago and we're going to have to again cause as you can see, it's already swollen." Adkins said they are being forced to wait on small repairs like the shower tiles and ceiling grates because what money do they have must spent on safety priorities for inmates and staff.
"We still have 46 positions that are unfunded, 44 of which were requested through the budget process in previous fiscal years and they need to be attended to. It's at a critical level."
Sheriff Darnell said the new staff positions would be used to oversee the work that is being done on the renovations and general maintenance.
She said, "They cause a great deal of challenges and security issues at the jail."
During a tour of the jail today, Commissioner Paula DeLaney said she believes the county has not provided enough money for the jail. She said, " I will spend this year begging and pleading and attempting to get at least 3 votes and preferably maybe even 4 or 5 along with me in agreeing that this is something we need to invest money in."
After the Sheriff's presentation last night, the Board requested more analysis on how Alachua County compares to other counties and asked that the jail budgeting be discussed with the entire county budget in mind.
The Sheriff is already making her case for both the jail and Sheriff's Office budgets for next year. She said, "It's a difficult process, it's a series of difficult decisions that have to be made, but its important that we start now before we start preparing the budget and get things locked into non-essential programs and practices. We need to look at what's essential for the operation of this county."
The Sheriff has some ideas for funding options for the jail, but said the money should not come from the Sheriff's Office budget.
Emphasizing again, that she will have to have $500,000 just to make her own budget work this year.
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