Anderson County Detention Facilities Society Helps Fund New Jail

The Anderson County Detention Center was considered state-of-the-art in 1954, but today the facility is plagued by overcrowding and deteriorating conditions.

The county is creating a new nonprofit organization, the Anderson County Detention Facilities Corporation, as the first step toward a new permanent jail.

This four-person board will begin the process of securing funds and vetting a design and build company for the creation of a new detention center to save money and generate revenue for the county while creating more space for inmates.

“We need to make sure we’re doing the right project,” said Brett Sanders, incoming president of the Anderson County Detention Facilities Corporation. “To build, to meet the needs of Anderson County, not someone from outside coming in to build what we don’t need.”

The new nonprofit is forming in response to South Carolina Department of Corrections standards for prisons.

During annual SCDC inspections, he felt the Anderson Detention Center needed repairs and improvements, said David Baker, director of the Anderson County Detention Center, and Sanders called the facility of “deplorable”.

Budget:As Anderson County passes budget, bonds may later pay for new jail, president says

After consolidating funding, the group will meet with engineers and companies specializing in prison construction, as well as construction companies, to then determine the timetable for a new detention center.

The proposed new prison would be built on the same land as the current building.

New design designed for safety and to save money

At the end of June 2022, the Anderson County Detention Center was overcrowded by nearly 130 people, and within three weeks that number grew to 200 overcapacity bodies.

The detention center has converted offices and dining halls into makeshift prison cells.

Some units that are only intended to house four inmates hold up to 12.

And maintenance issues in a crowded prison make it difficult because of the close proximity of inmates and the space available to maneuver people around – a feature the new prison is likely to alleviate.

“One of the designs we’re looking at is a pod system,” said David Baker, captain and prison warden at Anderson Detention Center.

Anderson County Detention Center cell on September 10, 1985

Unlike the current building, the new prison will be conceptualized to suit Anderson for years to come. Baker said they need to plan for their current needs and future growth.

A pod system would house subsections of prisoners in two levels of cells with a centralized, open living space with metal tables and seats.

The current Anderson Detention Center contains three small sections of pod housing, and the hope would be to make pods a standard model of accommodation for inmates.

Baker will review past detention center totals in the population to determine how many beds will be deemed appropriate for the new prison.

“We want the new design to eliminate inmates moving from one side of the building to the other,” Baker said. “To do maintenance and repairs and have plenty of room to work.

“That also makes it [the jail] cheaper to fix,” he said.

There are also hopes for additional amenities that could make the monthly cost of electricity, water and gas much cheaper, as Baker hopes a new day room, recreation yard and more natural light will shine through. building.

Additionally, the strategic placement of meeting rooms within the pod cells would be part of the design to prevent attorneys, counselors, and inmates from having to meet with clients in another section of the new prison.

These new facility upgrades would not only help Anderson, but also law enforcement in neighboring jurisdictions.

“Again, it comes back to the inmate movement,” Baker said. “Which will be the easiest, safest and most cost-effective for longevity.”

Transportation of minors, no tax increase, potential costs

Preliminary estimated costs for a new prison are expected to total about $55 million, said Amy Vitner, chief executive of First Tryon Advisors.

First Tyron Advisors – a North Carolina-based firm – will help Anderson’s Detention Corporation seek the lowest total debt service per year through bank or public market funds.

If the prison were built and financed today, the interest rate would be around 4%, Vitner said. By the time procurement for the new building begins, rates could be close to 4.45%, costing the county thousands of additional dollars.

“Anderson County has an investment-grade credit rating, so we will be able to obtain financing or financing at a much lower interest rate,” said Sanders, president of the settlements company. detention.

An annual debt service of $4.2 million over a 25-year schedule is the overall preliminary cost forecast.

Taxes for Anderson County citizens are not expected to increase when the proposed jail is built, spokesman Burns said.

By creating a new jail and using the old buildings, the county would save nearly $15,000 a month, the same amount it costs to ferry underage inmates back and forth to Columbia.

The current detention center spacing deficit requires juvenile court proceedings to be accompanied by two deputies, typically keeping them five hours away from the Anderson County department, at a minimum.

By building a new jail, it would reduce the time officers would spend on the road, transporting minors, and also benefit neighboring communities who may be imprisoned in Anderson – another way to generate dollars with a new facility.

Previous cover:When will Anderson get a new prison? Director’s plans five years from now when overcrowding peaks

Only 10% of the population of the detention center have already been sentenced, the rest of the detainees are still awaiting trial, according to Baker.

If no jail is built, the South Carolina Department of Corrections could build a jail itself and demand that Anderson County foot the bill.

There would be no control over what was inside or what it looked like.

“We also want something aesthetically pleasing,” Baker said. “We want to take our neighbors into consideration, we want to keep that in mind with the design.”

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AJ Jackson is a generalist reporter for the Independent Mail. Email him at [email protected] with story ideas and leads, also follow him on Twitter @AJhappened

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