Beaufort county jail bill keeps rising

Total projected to be $500 thousand

Beaufort county jail bill keeps rising

WASHINGTON, BEAUFORT COUNTY - - It's been two months since the Beaufort County jail lost power, causing jailers to evacuate the inmates.

Authorities expect to have the inmates back in the jail by September 10th. By that time, officials say, this ordeal will cost taxpayers over half a million dollars.

"We want to be back in here as soon as possible. So the county can stop bleeding money," said Beaufort County Sheriff Alan Jordan.

Sheriff Jordan says the jail was poorly built in the first place, and in a questionable location. "We've been saying this like a broken record for years that this day would ultimately come, when this jail would cost this citizens of Beaufort County a lot of unnecessary money," he said.

Officials say every day the inmates aren't back in the jail, it costs taxpayers $3,700 dollars.

Jailers say once the inmates are back in, the problems with the jail will most likely continue. "We're probably looking at busted pipes, and whatever else comes with having that many bodies back in the facility, and having it be shut down for more than 60 days," said Captain Catrena Ross. 

They expect the problem to worsen thanks to hurricane season, since the jail is below ground. As soon as a threat of a hurricane hitting Beaufort County presents itself, they have to get everyone out, says Sheriff Jordan. "The chances are great, heaven forbid a hurricane hits, that we have to turn around and evacuate again," he said.

County commissioner Hood Richardson says this whole debacle is the sheriff's fault. "The sheriff has done a great job of doing what he knows that most criminals do. And that is covering up the facts," said Richardson. "The sheriff has been trying to destroy the jail so that he can get a new toy."

Sheriff Jordan, who plans to retire at the end of his term, says he doesn't "answer to the county commissioners. I answer to the public."

Officials say the half million dollar figure includes about $7,500 dollars for transporting the inmates, $20,000 dollars for overtime pay going to jailers and officers to oversee the inmates and $93,000 for repairs. The rest will go to paying the bill for housing the inmates elsewhere.

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