Additional space is on the way for Carroll detention center

Gym to be converted as inmate population continues to increase

May 11, 2000|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

To keep pace with the rising inmate population at Carroll County Detention Center, the jail's gymnasium will be converted into a minimum security unit.

The county commissioners unanimously approved the $200,000 project, which is expected to begin this summer. It will complete the expansion and renovation of the jail complex, which included a 100-bed addition that opened in November, after several delays caused by design modifications, excavation problems, construction changes and equipment malfunctions.

Renovation of the 1,897-square-foot gymnasium will expand the jail's capacity by 29 beds, to 285. The remodeled gymnasium will house about 40 work-release inmates and a handful of other minimum-security prisoners.

"We believe this is very prudent and wise," Lt. Col. George R. Hardinger, the warden, told the Board of County Commissioners yesterday. "It will extend the life of the facility and increase the safety and security of the inmate population and our staff."

Officers at the jail once outnumbered violent-crime offenders more than 3 to 1. Today, the jail has one police officer for every 3.2 inmates convicted of a violent crime.

"In short order, as the county continues to grow, there's going to be a need for additional beds," Sheriff Kenneth L. Tregoning told the commissioners. "It is less costly to do this work now than it would be if we waited until things reached a critical point, in say three or maybe five years."

Yesterday, the jail housed 193 prisoners, including 40 work-release inmates, detention center records show. In addition, 63 people were being held at the jail for trial, and 18 federal inmates were being held for deportation.

To ease crowding, half of the gymnasium is temporarily being used to house minimum-security inmates.

As part of the gymnasium renovation project, these changes will be made:

The former work-release dormitory will be converted into a central storeroom.

A former laundry area will be renovated and used for kitchen storage.

The multipurpose conference room will be used as a satellite office for the District Court Commissioners.

Former storage areas for inmate personal property, cleaning supplies and files will be converted to office space.

The library will be expanded by absorbing space in an adjacent file room.

Work stations will be moved from Sheriff Services to Central Booking, and the empty space will be converted into an enclosed office.

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