Regional jails need more space

Expansion will also create jobs

POSTED: 12:06 PM Feb 25 2013   UPDATED: 12:27 PM Feb 25 2013
ABINGDON, Va. -

An increase in the number of inmates in the regional jails across Southwest Virginia is creating a need for more space.

It's also creating more jobs.

A recent study showed the three jails needed to expand. News 5 WCYB spoke with jail superintendent Steve Clear who says the general assembly agreed to pay half of the $36 million construction, with the other half being paid locally.

Officials are currently meeting with the 10 counties asking for permission to borrow the money.

The expansion would add at total of 592 beds split between the jails in Abingdon, Duffield, and Haysi. It will also lead to more than 120 jobs, but those will not be added until work is complete sometime in 2014.

Officials say the jails were built to house 895 inmates, but they routinely have more than 1,700 inmates at one time.