Commission discusses new jail

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 10, 2001

The new Butler County Jail was the topic of discussion at the Butler County Commission workshop Thursday night.

Ken Funderburk of Montgomery introduced Mark LeBlanc of Louisiana to the commission to discuss the building of a state facility in Butler County to relieve some of the overcrowding in jails.

LeBlanc's company sets up contracts with states in which the county pays a set fee per bed and the company builds jails at no construction cost to the county.

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The company would build the jail and prisoners would be brought in from various locations and housed at the jail. Private investors fund the construction of the facilities and the county simply agrees to the construction and payment per bed to house prisoners.

Prisoners are housed in a dormitory setting with direct supervision and a guard is on duty with the prisoners around the clock.

LeBlanc said prisoners like the dormitory concept better than the regular jail concept because they "are not confined to one area." He also noted that it takes a qualified sheriff and county to work with the system and he wanted to offer the option to Butler County.

"We've been looked at by a lot of people around the country," LeBlanc said. "We're just proud of what we do and wanted to share it with you."

Also discussed at the workshop was the redrawing of the county voter precinct lines. Attorney Calvin Poole has worked with Montgomery Attorney David Boyd on the maps using the Census 2000 results to balance the vote in all districts.

The maps were presented at the meeting and will be voted on during Tuesday's meeting. County employees also voiced their opinions of a search policy which allows department heads to search employees' vehicles.

The employees are concerned that their vehicles could be searched and things could be placed in the vehicles by department heads in order to have the employees fired.

The employees are asking that the policy be rewritten to state that a search warrant must be acquired through the sheriff's office before a department head can search an employee or their vehicle. Other topics discussed at the meeting included:

industrial park expansion and work on the park entrance;

a new transportation vehicle for the county;

county banking issues;

the change of the clerk's position.

District 1 Commissioner Gary Hanks also asked that county roads be discussed at next Tuesday's meeting.