Coffee County Jail to Expand Facilities

Governor Riley has signed a bill which will have a large impact on one Wiregrass county. The measure approved by the state legislature should alleviate overcrowding in the Coffee County Jail.

Coffee County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy, Ronnie Whitworth, says the Coffee County Jail prisoner daily average is around 150.

The 18-year-old facility has a maximum capacity of only 126 inmates.

Sheriff Dave Sutton says a local bill approved in the legislature will mean a multi-million dollar law enforcement complex, with an additional 100 beds.

"We normally are anywhere from 140-to-150 inmates, and that's way above our maximum capacity of 126,” Sheriff Sutton said. “This will give us anywhere from 100 new beds."

The proposed complex will include a juvenile detention facility. Currently, many counties transport their juveniles to Dothan, but Coffee County will soon offer the service as well.

Chief Deputy Whitworth said, “Several times a week, we transport them out of other places. We send the far majority to a facility in Dothan."

A longtime public official says news of the jail addition is great, especially since it won't cost taxpayers a dime.

A bond issue to pay for the complex will be funded through the court system fees. For instance, a portion of a speeding ticket will go in the jail fund.

Chairman of the Coffee Co. Commission Tom Grimsley said, "I think that it's great news. And, [we are] ready that we can even handle the overflow from other county jails.”

Officials say there's no timetable on when construction will begin on the law enforcement complex, which will be built at the current site of the sheriff's department.


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