Richmond County inmates have moved out of Walton Way jail

Inmates sent to new facility

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 10:29 PM
Last updated Wednesday, April 4, 2012 9:37 AM
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The jail pods at 401 Walton Way are silent.

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The pods in the old jail are quiet now that all the prisoners have been relocated to the new facility.  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
The pods in the old jail are quiet now that all the prisoners have been relocated to the new facility.

The televisions mounted high on the concrete walls are blank and cold. No basketballs drum the floor of the exercise yards. No one sits at bare metal tables. The cells are empty and will never be full again.

All of the Richmond County Jail inmates have been officially moved eight miles away, to the Charles B. Webster Detention Center on Phinizy Road. The old jail at the Law Enforcement Center, built in 1985 to hold about 350 inmates and almost filled to twice its capacity at its peak, will not be used to house prisoners again – except for a few hours, Sheriff Ronnie Strength said.

“It is now an intake and release facility,” he said, explaining that the jail only serves as a transition center where suspects are booked on charges or released.

Prisoners are transported to the new detention center twice each day, he said.

Capt. Bill Reeves said the move was made possible by the completion of two new jail pods to house male inmates at the Phinizy Road jail along with a 164-bed medical facility.

Reeves said the design of the old jail caused it to be plagued with plumbing
problems that often spilled onto lower floors. The empty gray-and-blue, concrete-and-steel pods retain a dank, musty odor, reminiscent of an old high school locker room.

“Water flows down, and it will find a way out,” Reeves said, adding that the new jail pods are better designed and less vulnerable to such problems. A broken pipe or overflowing toilet can be contained to one floor, he said.

“We learned to build out, not build up,” he said.

Strength said that when the new sheriff’s administration building is completed this summer, the only employees left in the old building will be a few jail employees, processing inmates in an out of custody.

Strength said he expects workers will break ground soon on a new intake facility on Phinizy Road, which should be completed in about 18 months.

“Once that is finished, the old building will be completely shut down,” Strength said, adding that he does not know what its future will be.

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raul 04/04/12 - 09:09 am
A building only 26 years old

A building only 26 years old totally worthless. Someone's head should have rolled that was involved in the building/approval process of that building. Too bad we couldn't repair it and fill it up again. We certainly have enough criminals in Richmond County to do that.

LLArms 04/04/12 - 03:04 pm
"A building only 26 years old

"A building only 26 years old totally worthless. Someone's head should have rolled that was involved in the building/approval process of that building"

What makes you think it will be worthless? They did not say it was being condemned or torn down. They simply said they will not operate out of it anymore.

Any other type of company can buy it and remodel it to suit their needs.

Knee jerk reaction much?

david jennings
david jennings 04/04/12 - 04:21 pm
I don't think the comment is

I don't think the comment is knee jerk. This buildings been plagued with problems for years. Iv'e seen mobile homes older than 26 yr. in better condition.

Insider Information
Insider Information 04/04/12 - 04:53 pm
The jail has been emptied

The jail has been emptied just in time for the Masters!

Move over murderers, child molesters and armed robbers.

Make room for Masters ticket scalpers.

raul 04/04/12 - 05:13 pm
@LL if the building were

@LL if the building were salvagable why wasn't it refurbished and used for the prison. The impression I got was there was mold and water issues that weren't correctable. We shall see what the future brings.

The old library on Greene is to be torn down and made into a parking lot. It has been quite a while since I went there, but would think the building could be refurbished into office space for government offices and preclude building new office construction.

Abbynoll 04/04/12 - 10:42 pm
The building isn't

The building isn't salvageable as far as I can tell... remember a few years back when payroll got "dumped" on? The odors there will make your eyes water the minute you walk through the door... not to mention the immediate stuffy nose. It's sad to see all that money go to waste, but this time I think they're right in getting rid of the building.

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