Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Rosemary White (left) and Lt. Sam Baker work at the booking desk at the W.C. “Dub” Brassell Jefferson County Adult Detention Center. (Special to the Commercial/William Harvey)
Jean Holloman, a cook at the W.C. “Dub” Brassell Jefferson County Adult Detention Center, cleans up from the evening meal for prisoners. (Special to the Commercial/William Harvey)
A recently completed inspection of the W. C. “Dub” Brassell Adult Detention Center by members of a state committee found no deficiencies.
Members of the Criminal Detention Facilities Review Committee said the “facility is very clean and well maintained.
“This facility is run as well as any in the state,” a note from the inspectors said. “Staff very professional and courteous.”
The 320-bed facility was opened in 2007 and is currently being run by Chief Deputy Sheriff Greg Bolin, who has been the administrator for more than two years.
“The credit goes to our staff, who won’t accept anything but being the best we can be,” Bolin said. “They work hard every day in a job that a lot of people would not want to do.”
The only deficiency noted on the inspection report was that not every member of the jail staff had received training, with an explanation indicating that five newly hired jailers needed to take the training course.
“From the outset, out main goal was that if we were not going to be the best, we were going to be one of the best,” Sheriff Gerald Robinson said. “I brag about this facility to other sheriffs all the time about how clean it is and how well it is run.”
The current jail replaced the former county jail, which was operated by the Department of Corrections, after voters approved two, quarter-cent sales tax increases in 2003. One of those sales taxes was to finance bonds for the $11 million facility while the other quarter-cent was for maintenance and operation. Those bonds were paid off and retired and that quarter-cent tax was taken off the books.
“I’ve been to seminars and training sessions all over the country and heard jail administrators talk about their jails being taken over by the government,” Bolin said. “In asking why, I found out that those jails didn’t get the support of their county government or the taxpayers in their area, so they didn’t have the money to operate the way they were supposed to. That’s one thing we can’t say here.
“The people of this county voted to tax themselves and the Quorum Court and county judge have bent over backwards support us,” Bolin said.
“We’ve made every effort to to try and see that they have what they need and run a first-class facility,” said Justice of the Peace Dr. Herman Ginger, chairman of the Quorum Court Public Safety/Emergency Services Committee. “If we’re going to have to be in the jail business, we want to see to it that we run it the right way.”
Before the new jail opened, the county was spending $5,000 to $8,000 per day taking prisoners to jails outside the county because the 106-bed capacity of the old jail was maxed out and could hold no more prisoners.
“It was the right thing to do to build the new jail and keep money from going out of the county,” Ginger said. “With the new fiscal year approaching, we’re going to have to be very careful because our population is not growing and when the population is not growing, the tax base is not growing so we’re going to have to watch how we spend our money.”
The old jail was sold to the Department of Corrections for $3 million and some of that money was used to construct the district court building adjacent to the facility.
“I think when the public sees the facility and how clean it is and how well it’s run, it makes them feel good,” Robinson said. “From the outside, it doesn’t look like a jail.”