Madison County sheriff talks recent advancements, future improvements in county jail

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -- This week, Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner reflected on the successes of his first year in office and addressed what he plans to focus on moving forward.

He wants one of those focuses to be the Madison County Jail. Turner said the jail requires a lot of manpower to operate efficiently.

"Lights are always on, the engine's always running," he said. "We serve 3,000 meals a day in there."

Turner said operations have been more efficient since the hire of a chief corrections officer last year.

"A $19 million budget in that jail, so you have to have someone who knows numbers and knows how to manage people," Turner said.

Thirty-five new detention officers have also been hired in the past year. Sheriff Turner acknowledged that it's a high-turnover position.

"It takes a special person to take a job and go inside that facility and work in that environment," he said.

The current capacity for the Madison County Jail is 1,300 inmates.

State inmates are only supposed to be held in the county jail for a maximum of 30 days before the Department of Corrections is supposed to transport them back to state prison. The sheriff said usually, they end up staying longer than that, and refining that process would help a lot with cutting extra costs.

"I'm definitely not going to turn them loose, so I'll maintain what I've got up here till they're able to get them, but I would love to see the process speed up," he said.

And as the area population gets bigger the jail will need to get bigger, too. Sheriff Turner said the possibility of expansion is already being discussed.

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