Jeffco Sheriff hoping to reopen Bessemer Jail

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - The possibility of reopening a Jefferson County jail was the main topic during a meeting between the Jefferson County sheriff and the commission president on Wednesday. They admit that things are still very much in the works but say they are glad the conversation has started.

It is no secret that Jefferson County is dealing with a very tight budget, but now the county commission is considering ways to spend some new funds they expect to receive.

County Commission President Bettye Fine Collins met with Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale about the possibility of reopening the jail in Bessemer. Commissioner Collins said that opening the jail is a work in progress.  She said the commission's plan is to operate within its budget, but she added that if there was to be an increase to the sheriff's budget, it would be for either mandated raises or the jail.  However right now the sheriff's requirements to open the jail just do not match the funding the commission can offer.

"We are working together to find the most cost effective solution without compromising safety," said Sheriff Hale on the idea of the reopening. "As soon as they give us the go ahead we will start the process of reopening the jail as immediately as possible.  The people in the Bessemer Cutoff deserve that and we need to relieve the liability issue of a crowded jail downtown."

Both Hale and Collins plan to meet again about this issue.

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