New Athens-Clarke Jail to Open Friday

The new Athens-Clarke County Jail will open Friday, Nov. 13, after more than two  years of construction. The $64 million project was funded by a special-purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST), and will be more than enough space to house the county’s criminals.

“Expansion and reuse of some of our old facility will allow us to meet our space needs for at least 20 years into the future, and hopefully longer,” said Chief Tommy York, a member of the jail design team.

The new jail has approximately 600 beds, grouped into nine different housing units placed strategically around the facility for efficiency. They are direct supervision units, meaning all of the services the inmates need throughout the day are available inside. Classrooms added to the units will offer various programs and activities.

“It’s going to allow us better opportunity to help our inmates improve their circumstances and try to learn things that will help them not come back in the future,” York explained.

The new facility also offers video visitation instead of traditional visitation separated by glass. York said the video chat will be easier for the public to use and safer for the inmates.

Current inmates will be transferred to the new Athens-Clarke County Jail in December. A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new facilities will take place Friday at 2 p.m.