Walton Co. Jail Staff Shortage

The new Walton County Jail north of DeFuniak Springs is expected to be in operation by the end of the year. However, Sheriff Ralph Johnson says the county commission is simply not giving him adequate funding to hire enough staff.

Sheriff Johnson says that's why he plans to return the county jail to the Walton County Commission.

The official transfer date is New Year’s Day 2007.

County officials are working on a plan to operate the $20 million, 500 bed facility.

Since the early 1980s, nearby Bay County has hired a private contractor to operate its jail in Panama City.

Sheriff Johnson feels it would take a minimum of 70 correctional officers and other staff to operate the new jail.