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Public Meeting For Lincoln County Jail Overcrowding

LINCOLN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder is asking county leaders for five million dollars to pay for an expansion to the county jail in order to avoid early releases and a potential lawsuit.

The sheriff says some inmates are now being forced to sleep on the floor due to lack of space.  Right now, the jail is well above a federal mandate that caps how many prisoners the facility can hold.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Chattanooga has been in contact with sheriff blackwelder about current conditions.

Tonight at a public meeting, the sheriff explained that the expansion is to avoid consequences and not raise taxes, but many residents were skeptical.

“I have yet to hear anyone say they’ve looked at the overall budget, convincingly say they’ve looked at the overall budget, done a line by line assessment and determined what they can cut and what they can’t cut until that’s done. I think you’ll be met with difficult and stiff resistance to try and get money for your own purposes. We have to go back to the county budget,” said one resident in attendance.

Lincoln County’s jail was built in 1990, and has been under a federal court order the entire time.