New county detention center completed, slated to open soon

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

BOLIVIA—The newest extended stay facility in Brunswick County is ready to open.

But it’s no hotel.

The second phase of the Brunswick County Detention Center has been completed and is ready to house inmates.

Capt. Kevin Holden, Brunswick County Detention Center chief jailer, said the 244-bed expansion project came in ahead of schedule and under budget.

With additional beds, the two phases of the detention center can house 440 inmates, he said.

The second phase of the detention center includes seven cellblocks, two of which are for females. The different cellblocks separate misdemeanor offenders and felony offenders, as well as violent and nonviolent offenders.

Detention officer Robert Benya said the two female cellblocks will be supervised by female detention officers, noting male detention officers never come in contact with female inmates.

County finance director Ann Hardy said the second phase of the detention center came in $173,000 under its $10.7 million budget.

The jail was completed in December, but the lack of trained detention officers kept Holden from opening the facility, he said. Since then, all but 13 positions have been filled.

Holden would not give an exact date when he planned to transport inmates to the new facility citing security reasons.

The current facility was completed in May 2005, but the inmates quickly outgrew the space, he said.

He learned a lot from the construction of the first phase, Holden said.

“We moved from the 82-bed facility with 165 inmates,” he said of the first move in 2005.

But the current detention center quickly became overcrowded, often averaging more inmates than beds.

Phase 1 of the detention center has 196 beds, but operates with an average of about 280 inmates.

While many people don’t think of comfort as a priority in a detention center, Holden said overcrowding can cause problems among inmates.

With adequate space for inmates, Holden said typically, “officer assaults and inmate assaults go down.”