Bryan County Officials Move to Improve Jail

1-16-07 At least fifteen jail escapes within the last year, not enough money, and poor management are just a few of the problems at the Bryan County jail. Now Bryan County leaders say they are taking steps to improve those conditions at the Bryan County jail. Bryan County Commissioners met Tuesday with jail administrators and the jail trust authority to talk out the issues. Jail administrator Donna Hutchinson came to the meeting with a break-down of the budget. She says the bottom line is, she needs more money.

The Bryan County jail budget is nearly bone dry. That's why Hutchinson is asking for $110,000 from county commissioners - just to make it another six months. If the county agrees, the money will fund maintenance and operation of the jail, and what Hutchinson says is an underpaid staff. County commissioners and the jail trust authority want something done about the ongoing problems. The jail has been under heavy criticism for poor management and the number of inmates who have escaped from their cells. With a series of upcoming meetings, Hutchinson and commissioners hope to turn things around for the jail. But, the Bryan county sheriff says it's going to take a lot more than $110,000 to make that happen, and Hutchinson agrees.

The commissioners tabled the funding issue until Thursday January 25th, but Hutchinson is sure they will grant her the money. For now, officials are looking at the possibility of closing down the auxiliary jail to free up some money. Commissioners voted to get an estimate on how much it would cost to knock out some walls inside the main jail to house all the inmates there. Commissioners and the sheriff met in an executive session after the meeting and were not available for comment.