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Source: The Jones County News | Jail expansion complete
Written by: Debbie Lurie-smith

The new addition to the Jones County Law Enforcement Center has been completed and is now occupied.

Sheriff Butch Reece announced the completion of the 40-bed addition in a Jan. 25 Facebook post. He thanked Warren & Associates, Precision Planning and Cherokee Brick for the project being completed on time and on budget.

The law enforcement center was originally dedicated Feb. 21,1998, and the addition was the first since its construction. The previous location of the jail was next to the Jones County Courthouse.

Chief Deputy Earl Humphries said 40 is the maximum number of inmates to be housed in the new addition. It was constructed for the purpose of housing an expanding number of female inmates and was designed to keep the populations separated.

Capt. Shane Moody, who is over 911 and the jail, said the previous capacity prior to the new addition was 124 inmates. Due to the new construction, the 40-bed unit was added as well as two segregation cells that house two inmates each. That puts the new jail capacity at 168 inmates.

Moody said with the onset of COVID-19, however, the space is currently better utilized to isolate incoming inmates for the two-week quarantine period. The quarantining of incoming inmates has been a huge challenge for the department.

He said, as soon as COVID-19 issues are over, the new wing will be used for its intended purpose of housing female inmates.

Humphries said the project cost was $2.7 million, and it was paid for with SPLOST funds. He said the first part of the project, improving the existing facilities, started in February of 2020, and ground was broken for the new addition in April.

The chief added that another project has also been underway at the law enforcement center, which was to expand the office space in the investigations department. That project has been completed mostly in-house. Humphries said inmates did much of the work, and contractors were used when needed. He said the office expansion would add a secondary interview room, more open space for offices and a conference room.

The walls and basic construction of the office expansion have been completed, and the finishing interior work is underway. Humphries said all existing items, such as windows, were reused whenever possible.