Population hits all-time high at county jail

November 15, 1994|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer

For the second consecutive weekend, the county jail population hit an all-time high.

On Saturday afternoon, 749 inmates were housed at the Jennifer Road facility outside Annapolis, jail officials said.

"We were at crunch time this weekend," said Detention Center Superintendent Richard Baker. "We moved some people around, and that got us through Saturday night."

The previous weekend, the jail population topped out at 727.

The previous record, set in November 1992, was 723 inmates.

The jail has a stated capacity of 600, but jail officials say they can squeeze in more than 750.

Two factors combined to make things difficult for jail administrators over the weekend: a backlog of inmates awaiting transfer to the state prison system and a Friday holiday that closed courts and delayed bail hearings.

The inmate population at the 27-year-old jail has fueled the controversy over whether the county needs to build a new one.

Opponents of the Glen Burnie jail proposal believe the county's inmate projections were inflated to give the administration of County Executive Robert R. Neall the ammunition it needed to justify a new jail.

After last week's announcement, which came a day before Tuesday's election, several North County politicians, including Democratic county executive candidate Theodore J. Sophocleus, raised the possibility that the jail's population was being manipulated for political purposes.

Mr. Baker said the jail's population is always high in November and has been steadily creeping up for five months.

Yesterday, there were 722 inmates in the jail, a weekday record.

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