Power outage causes jail to shut down

Beaufort County relocates all inmates to other facilities

WASHINGTON, BEAUFORT COUNTY - The Beaufort County Detention Center is currently shut down until further notice. Electrical problems at the facility have forced officials to relocate all of the inmates.

"At some point you're letting out the whole block, which consists of 18, 19, 20 guys," said Captain Catrena Ross. "And you're one officer."

The Beaufort County Courthouse and Detention Center suffered a power loss Saturday, June 8, around 9:40 p.m.  All 67 inmates in the Detention Center were evacuated to other facilities around eastern North Carolina. 

The Sheriff's Office says a generator briefly restored power to the facility, but within 15 minutes an electrical malfunction in the Detention Center wiring caused a breaker to trip. Smoke was detected in the Detention Center during the second power loss. "Humongous noise with the banging on the bars and yelling and screaming y'all gonna let us die," said Ross.

This is not the first time the jail has experienced electrical problems. On Thursday, June 6, the Detention Center also lost power, and the inmates were moved to a facility in Bertie County.

Inmates will not return until the electrical problems are fixed. "In a facility as decrepit as this one that they're as safe as they can be. Then I'll re-populate this facility," said Beaufort County Sheriff R. Alan Jordan.

Jordan says the Detention Center "was poorly designed when it was first built, in the early 70's." He hopes these incidents will get the attention of the people with the power to move the jail.

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