Oconee County Residents Speak Out Over Jail Expansion Plans - WSPA.com

Oconee County Residents Speak Out Over Jail Expansion Plans

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With words full of worry Paul Raines and his neighbors were vocal about the problems they say they're having living next door to the county jail.

"We got families across the street that butt up to this property who cannot at certain times of the day let their kids out to play," said Paul Raines who lives nearby the current jail.

Raines says the inmates are noisy, and they make catcalls from the outdoor recreation yard. The neighborhood also worries about trusted inmates who roam the property doing chores.

Raines and others crowded Tuesday night's meeting as the Oconee County Sheriff explained a new $15.7 million jail addition. The proposal adds a two-story building that will house 192 beds.

With worries about safety, 7 On Your Side asked the Sheriff how will neighbors be safer next to a bigger jail.

"We want to be a good neighbor to the residents around here," said Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw.

Crenshaw says being a better neighbor means moving the recreation yard inside the jail and not outside near homes.

"There will be no outdoor recreation yard," said Crenshaw. "The recreation yard will be confined within the facility, which I think will be a benefit from the noise issue."

The Sheriff also tells 7 On Your Side he will re-evaluate the privileges of certain inmates.

However, homeowners like Raines still didn't seem so sure following Tuesday night's meeting.

"It's time to take this thing out of town and put it out somewhere where it won't bother anybody," said Raines.

The new plain isn't official yet.Sheriff Crenshaw will share the plan with Walhalla City Council. That meeting is April 19th at 5:30pm. If the city votes down the plan, the Sheriff says he will look for property outside the city limits. But Crenshaw says that will cost more money.

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