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The Colbert County Sheriff told WAAY31 it is now is the time for cities to get out of the jail business. He wants surrounding cities to jump on board a metro jail.
The current Colbert County Jail that was built to house 62 inmates but the sheriff said they are averaging about 100 to 120 inmates and a big reason why he wants a metro jail.
Colbert County Sheriff, Frank Williamson, said a change in Alabama law keeps anyone convicted of class D felonies in county jails rather than prisons. That has lead to cramped conditions.
Williamson hopes the cities of Sheffield, Muscle Shoals, and Tuscumbia will join him in building a metro jail. Currently all of the police departments have small jails connected to their buildings which can hold a limited amount of people.
"It would take some of the liabilities off the cities and take them out of the jail business and be a lot cheaper on them and save them money to do that," said Williamson.
Williamson said the talks are in the early stages and everyone needs to get on the same page.
"We need to figure out how big the jail needs to be. That's going to take the cities all getting together to figure out, if we are going to get a metro jail," said Williamson.
Williamson said he would like the jail to be designed to keep up with growth and said it could cost anywhere from $8 to $23 million.
"I think it's a smart idea and it would be safer," said Tuscumbia resident, Somer Orick.
Williamson said he plans on meeting with city council members for Sheffield, Tuscumbia and Muscle Shoals to get their take on the idea. The Sheffield and Tuscumbia police chiefs said they are open to the concept.
Muscle Shoals Police Chief, Clint Reck, said they want to know costs first and how much the county could charge them to house inmates.
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