An analysis of the Montgomery County Jail presented to officials this week found the jail will need to double in size by 2040 to accommodate its projected inmate population.
The report was presented to county commissioners on Monday and called for an increase of 182 beds at the county jail. Currently, the jail has 224 beds.
Sheriff Ryan Needham said with the notable exception of this past year, the jail is consistently at or exceeding capacity. He said a driving force has been the increase in people with addiction or mental health issues being housed in the jail.
“I don’t know that it serves us well to put people with only addiction in the county jail, just like it doesn’t serve us to put somebody with mental illness inside the jail,” he said. “But the unfortunate reality is there is nowhere else for those people to go.”
Needham said the jail released 100 low-level offenders from the jail last year so that they could appropriately isolate people and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The expansion is estimated to cost between $18-21 million. Needham stressed that considering the project will take some time.
“It’s simply a study,” he said. “By no means is ground going to be broken next week and it is an expensive proposal.”