Transfer of Escambia Co jail to county will be October 1st

Updated: Thursday, September 5 2013, 08:48 PM CDT
Transfer of Escambia Co jail to county will be October 1st story image
ESCAMBIA COUNTY   --  It became a political football.
The Escambia County Jail featured in a budget battle between the County Commission and Sheriff David Morgan.

The county will take over the jail at the end of the month.
As the countdown continues for the transfer of this jail over to Escambia County, lots of people have been hard at work making sure this transition goes as smoothly as possible.

Now the county is having to spend some money, but in the long run they're hoping to save the taxpayer.

After several jail transfer meetings, and lots of negotiation, Escambia County will take over operation of the jail from the sheriff's office October first.

"I will say that we've received 100 percent cooperation between us and the Sheriff's Department - our staff and theirs. And it's been a very - I won't say it hadn't been a little bit contentious - but the bottom line is we got it done," says Escambia County Administrator George Touart.

That means paying the bill for things like insurance, which had been purchased by the sheriff, buying new uniforms and badges for jail employees, and remarking jail vehicles.

The total impact on the budget hits at close to half a million dollars, but the county says that's small potatoes compared to the increase Sheriff David Morgan was seeking.

"I think you heard today, it's about $500,000 in cost. We had set aside about two million, so it's going to fit well within what we're doing. The main important thing is we're able to go forward without a 7.5 million dollar increase that was originally requested of us,"

The county is hoping to save money while operating the jail.
But Commissioner Lumon May has expressed concerns over conditions in the facility, and the effect on the inmates.

May would like to see improvements, and he's not alone.
Joseph spent some time inside. He says there are problems with the phones inmates use to call out, and the jail food quality and pricing.

"Making sure that they get their nutritional value, that's another thing that really needs to be looked at. The commissary, the prices are so high," says Joseph.

Transfer of Escambia Co jail to county will be October 1st
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