April 15, 2014
AIKEN COUNY, SC (WRDW)--
A report released last week by the South Carolina Department of Corrections found issues at the Aiken County Detention Center. Mostly centered around overpopulation, the report rates the Aiken County detention center to have 317 inmates at any given time. In 2013, the average daily amount of inmates at the facility was 318.
Jail administration says that this has been a problem for years though, and in some regards, they were expecting this to come in the report and it’s something they hear about every year.
“A jail population swells and then it’ll go back down,” says Captain Nick Gallam, jail administrator, “that over population is at times. It’s not everyday.”
But in 2009, the population was even higher, reaching a peak of 497 inmates at one point.
Since then, the population has gone down every year. Early this year, the population was down to 260 inmates.
The report from the Department of Corrections listed the overall ratios of inmates to toilets, showers, wash basins and staff all as issues. But the jail says that unless they don’t have enough of those to accommodate the inmates then fixing the problem is impractical.
“I can’t go hire 20 detention officers just because our population goes up 40 inmates but might go back down in a week,” said Gallam.
The jail says that when the facility was built in 2002, the designers left room for expansion if necessary, but they say that’s the last thing they want to do.
“There's really not much we can do unless we add facilities and add detention officers. That's the only two things that we can do,” said Gallam, “We just don’t see that it's in the best interest of the county or the sheriff's office to do at this time.”