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The Lauderdale County Detention Center has opened a new women's facility that can house over 50 incarcerated women. The new facility is off of Veterans Drive located near the current jail. It's been open for about two weeks.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton told WAAY 31, despite adding the facility, they hit a new record on Tuesday, housing some 349 inmates in the current jail and new facility.
They built the women's dormitory to help solve some of the overcrowding issues, and it cost about $1.5 million to build.
"As it is, we still had almost 100 people sleeping on the floor, but it has given us some relief," said Singleton.
Even with the new facility, overcrowded jails are still a problem.
"It has not fixed our problems. Crowding is still an issue for us as it is for most jails across the state," said Singleton.
The current Lauderdale County Detention Center was built to house over 150 inmates, but with prison reform keeping offenders in county jails and detectives being able to solve more crimes and lock people up, Singleton said the long-term solution to the problem is building a new jail.
"We're gonna have to build a new jail. When we build it, we're gonna have to pay for it. Nobody is gonna build it and give it to us," said Singleton. "The longer we wait, the longer it's going to cost. If we wait until a federal court gets involved and mandates that we build it, it will probably add more cost to it."
Singleton said he is working with the county commission on how to fund a new jail. Tracy Stults lives in Lauderdale County and told WAAY 31 he would support a reasonable tax increase if it meant a new jail would be built.
"They are arresting them now and have no place to put them," said Stults. "If you don't want criminals running loose, then we need to support a reasonable tax to build a new jail."
Singleton estimates a new jail would cost around $30 million and take about four years to be completely built.