Prince William County's aging jail is in need of an expensive overhaul—and quickly, the sheriff and chairman of the jail board told the Board of County Supervisors at a recent meeting.
Sheriff Glen Hill and Col. Pete Meletis, the jail board chairman, recommended that the second phase of the jail's expansion be completed within five to seven years, at an estimated cost of $60 million. This would allow the county to add on 200 more new beds.
The jail can safely house 1,055 inmates, said Meletis, who is also jail superintendent. But it is quickly reaching capacity. On average, 942 inmates have been at the jail every day during the first half of fiscal year 2013.
And as Northern Virginia's population continues to expand, the jail's population is expected to, as well. A $2.1 million expansion in 2008 was not enough to keep up with growth. Every year since it opened in 1982, the population has experienced average growth of 25 inmates a year.
All are arrested from jurisdictions in Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park, in addition to a small number of federal prisoners that the county has contracted to house.
The Board has been aware of the jail's situation for some time, but the plan has been to spend $3 million to extend the life of the modular jail—which opened in 1990 as a temporary, five-year facility—for another 10 years.
The jail board wrote a letter to the Board of County Supervisors about the situation at the end of November. Click on the PDF below the picture to read the letter.