Houston County Jail Overcrowded

Too many criminals too little space seems to be the problem at the Houston County Jail. It is a problem that only appears to be getting worse.

Dozens of inmates at the Houston County Jail sit on bed mats without the standard orange inmate attire.

There is no room and not enough jump suits for them.

Commander Keith Reed says, "An inmate accidentally steps on another inmate or in an inmates property... they'll have some words for each other and that could result in a fight."

One man who spent hours inside for failing to pay a fine described life inside says, “The condition at the jail is very bad... you have guys that are sleeping on the floor even on top of one another.”

Overcrowding has been a problem since the jail was opened in 2002, but officials say never this bad.

With things the way they are safety is a major concern, especially in areas with inmates sleeping on the floor.

"When a corrections officer enters that area there could be some hazards if the inmate decides to assault the corrections officer or flea the pod area," said Reed.

The Alabama Department of Corrections inability to transfer convicted criminals to state penitentiaries is also a problem.

Jail guards say they can still operate and maintain the facility despite the overcrowding, but they are afraid that unless something is done soon, the problem will only get worse.

Jail officials say the counties community corrections work release program is helping alleviating some of the crowded conditions at the jail.

Sheriff Andy Hughs is asking county commissioners to consider expanding the jail.

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