MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — There’s an inmate decline. The Madison County Metro Jail has about 200 fewer prisoners than it did at this time last year, which is good news for us. However, for that trend to continue, changes need to happen to the Madison County Courthouse. The key to reducing the inmate populations is to find new courtroom space.
“Right now, I have a judge that does not have a courtroom,” said Dale Strong, Chairman for the Madison County Commission. That’s part of the problem. Strong is looking for a long term solution.
“Right now we have reduced the number in the Madison County Jail from right around 1100 to last week it was 893,” said Strong. “If we can find a continuous courtroom for this judge, I believe that by making the space available, we will save money by reducing the population in the jail.”
It sounds like a good plan, but how will they do it? Strong said they have looked at multiple options. Financially, he said the changes they want to make aren’t feasible.
“What we’ve done is we’ve signed a $10,000 space feasibility study,” The Commission has hired a consultant to come in and see what the best use of the space is. Strong thinks the best option is to take the Tax Assessor’s office off the first floor, and move it to the fifth.
“We’ve got to be sure that we’ve got sufficient court space to manage the highest court case load anywhere in the state of Alabama,” said Strong. “The 23rd Circuit sees more cases than any judges in the state of Alabama so what we’re trying to do is modify this, to see what our best move is.”
The best move will be decided by this study. They need additional space, they just aren’t sure how to get it.
“We’ve got to get this courtroom situation taken care of immediately so we can have continuous cases to be heard,” said Strong.