WASHINGTON, BEAUFORT COUNTY - The Beaufort County Detention Center has been reopened and the process of returning inmates to the jail has begun. Electrical problems at the facility had forced officials to relocate all of the inmates.
The Beaufort County Courthouse and Detention Center suffered a power loss Saturday, June 8, around 9:40 p.m. All inmates in the Detention Center were evacuated to other facilities around eastern North Carolina.
While deputies were preparing to get inmates back into the jail, they also kicked County Commissioner Hood Richardson out. "He started getting loud and accusatory and I told him in no certain terms that the tour was over," said Sheriff Alan Jordan.
Both men agree the argument started during a discussion over the re-population. "That's when he started turning red-faced and he called me an (expletive)," said Richardson. "They took me to the door and forcibly put me out of the jail."
This is not the first time Richardson was removed from the jail. Sheriff Jordan says Richardson antagonized inmates, causing them to throw a cup of urine in the face of a maintenance worker. "They sent out a note later on, apologizing saying they thought it was Hood," said Jordan.
When Judge Sermons ordered the reopening, 102 Beaufort County inmates were housed at other jails in eastern North Carolina. Out of those 102 inmates, only 85 will be able to return to the Beaufort County Detention Center because it has a maximum capacity of 85 beds. The remaining inmates will still have to be housed at other facilities, which will cost the county more money.
Sheriff Jordan maintains the county needs a new jail. Richardson says four of the seven commissioners agree with Jordan, not including Richardson.
Richardson says the evacuation has cost taxpayers $600,000. He estimates a new jail would cost the county $20 million dollars.