Nash County sheriff, county commissioners battle over plan for jail repairs

NASH COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Nash County Board of Commissioners called a special meeting Monday to discuss the state's mandate to depopulate the Nash County Detention Center and make repairs.

"We will not be constructing a new jail in Nash County," Chairman Robbie Davis announced during the meeting.

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Rather, Chairman Davis said repairs and a possible addition should be enough to address issues there.

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"We have a firm commitment that we will do what it takes facility-wise to correct the issue," Davis said.

Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said the Chairman should wait until an assessment of the jail is completed before making a decision on the future of the jail.

"This place is dilapidated," Sheriff Stone said. "It needs to be brought up to standard. Can it be brought up to standard? I think so, but It's going to take time and money and it's going to take an architect and a consultant and not one commissioner sitting here speaking."

The state mandated they move inmates by Friday so there are no more than 56 there while the repairs are made. The Sheriff said they'll move more than 100 inmates.

Sheriff Stone has said the jail needs upgrades to improve security and the safety of officers.

Inmates broke out of the jail in March and May.

"I think that they can come here and redo the jail," Sheriff Stone said. "I don't say a new jail. I don't care what they do as long as they give us a safe and secure jail."

"I hear frequently that we are underfunding the Sheriff's Department," Chairman Davis said. "I am here today to tell you today that is just not accurate."

The Chairman said most of the issues are operational, which are the responsibility of the Sheriff's office.

"Absolutely, he's blaming me because I don't cost anything to blame," Sheriff Stone said. "My commissioner is an unlimited licensed contractor. That means he can build anything from a bird house to the White House. For him to let a facility get this bad and he not notice it."

During the meeting, the Chairman suggested they place contract detention officers at the jail.

The Sheriff said that's illegal.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said this is the first time a letter like that has been sent to a jail in the state.
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