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Facilities authority legislation introduced

Rep. David Knight has introduced legislation in the state House of Representatives that, if approved as expected, will create the Lamar County Public Facilities Authority. The legislation will also provide for the appointment of members to the authority. A new county jail, recommended by the December term investigative grand jury, could be among the first facilities planned and built under the auspices of the new authority. The current jail, named for longtime sheriff J.C. Waller, was built in 1993. Incarcerated prisoners are tough on facilities and 23 is pretty old in jail years, according to sources. The jurors cited the need for major technological upgrades and noted control panels and the cell to control room intercom system are ‘˜antiquated’. Other recommended areas for improvement included patrol car GPS systems, back-up power for the jail’s internal security system and inmate shower facilities. ’Given the age of the jail, the sheriff is doing a great job administering it. However, we recommend serious consideration be given to building a new jail facility as part of the next SPLOST budget,’ the jurors concluded. Sheriff Brad White said the jail is structurally sound but has major design flaws. The plumbing is under the jail. That is a problem when inmates decide to flush items that they shouldn’t. ’We’ve had them flush entire blankets just to back up the plumbing. When it backs up it is a mess. New jails are built with the plumbing on the outside for easier access,’ White added.

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