Sheriff says Russell County Jail has a critical need

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - The overcrowded Russell County Jail is in a waiting period for construction, but in the meantime, there's one critical change that needs to be made.

The expansion plans for the Russell County Jail have been put on hold until funding issues can be sorted out, but Sheriff Tommy Boswell says there is one upgrade that must take place soon.

The sheriff appeared before the Russell County Commission Wednesday morning to ask for the okay to start the bidding process for a new electronics system for the jail. The existing unit controls the lights, doors and security system, but it's 15 years old.

"All that could go down if this system were to fail. We're on its last legs. I'm really concerned it could fail before we get this upgrade done," said Sheriff Boswell.

He has received estimates for nearly $300,000 for an upgrade and commissioners allowed him to open up the bidding process to see if they can get that cost down.

After preparing the paperwork and giving vendors 30 days to hand out bids, it could be a few months before this project even gets off the ground, but Sheriff Boswell says there is a fund set aside for this type of work and right now its at the top of his list.

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