Mayor and Commission Meeting Looks at Athens Jail Expansion

By: Julie Calhoun

The huge expansion of the Athens jail rests in the hands of the mayor and commission tonight. They’re deciding whether to award a contract the McKnight construction company.
The 46 million dollar expansion would renovate a jail that is just too old and too small. It would solve the problem for staff using outdated facilites and portable trailers as offices. The overcrowding issue will also be addressed. New beds would be added, old ones refurbished. The ultimate total capacity of 786 inmates. Jail Commander Tommy York says, “We started experiencing overcrowding in the late 90’s and have been overcrowded consistently for 6 or 7 years.”
There will be special units for medical and mental health special needs inmates and new features that will help run the jail more smoothly. York says, ”
some of the features we’re excited about will be direct supervision strategy placing officers in units with the inmates which makes it safer for everyone and efficient manangement strategy.” This expansion has been 10 years in the making and there’s been a need for an update some places in the jail havent seen renovations since the 1970’s. The new layout will spread across 210,000 square feet. Construction is expected to begin as early as May and would last about three years. The Mayor and Commission meeting will take place tonight at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

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