Gadsden Jail Tents

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Gadsden County has its share of crime, and authorities are locking up criminals. Now deputies are faced with a problem of housing them in a jail built for only 150 inmates.

Sheriff's officials admit they're overcrowded and that there are inmates sleeping on the floors, in cots, sandwiched like sardines. The facility, which was built to house 150 inmates, now holds more than 230 on any given day. Most are there for violation of probation. Ten of them are still awaiting trial. It's made for a tense working environment.

MAJ James Morgan said, "Sometimes the inmates get frustrated. When they do hit an officer they are charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.”

Deputies say a few inmates have tried to walk out of the jail. Now new doors are being installed. The living conditions are something to write home about, especially in the female cell built for 12 people.

Right now 30 females share the cell. The inmates say it's an all-day task to get a simple shower.

Sheriff’s officials have asked commissioners to add on to the facility, but there are no funds available. The sheriff is now working on erecting tents to house some of the inmates. In the meantime they're asking the commission to flip a card: safety of deputies or an overcrowded jail.

Morgan added, "Make a decision, build a jail or add on to make more space for the inmates. They are committing crimes and they're coming in. They're being arrested over and over. Some of them can get arrested and come back in here."

Deputies say females and juveniles are some of the fastest growing groups heading to jail. Sheriff's officials are still in the planning stages. They have to get all the necessary paperwork in order. They also have to get the approval from the board before they can erect the tents.