ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — Anderson County is preparing to build its new detention center to replace its current jail that was built in the 1950s.
According to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, the current jail was built to house about 250 inmates, but an average of 400 inmates are in the facility daily.
Rusty Burns, Anderson County’s administrator, said the new jail can hold 608 inmates.
The new $75 million facility is designed to meet the county’s needs.
“It will be game-changing because, at times, you won’t have codefendants or people who are side by side who might be involved in the same crime” Shale Remien, the public information officer for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, said.
“If you look across the state right now, there are a lot of jails that are in a lot of trouble,” Burns added.
“You have murders, stabbings and things like that. We’re taking the best elements of every prison or jail design that we can find to try to make it safe for our detention officers because right now they work in a dangerous environment.”
Remien said a key part of the design is that inmates will remain in one area.
“The new facility will allow the inmates to stay specifically in their pod or housing area,” she explained.
“So, visitation, day-to-day grooming, recreation and things like that will be in that one space. As of now, they might have to go through multiple doors. The only time they should go through multiple doors is if they have a court date or are leaving the jail altogether. That will give us much more security not only for the inmate but for the detention officer.”
The magistrate court will be located in the new jail.
There will also be additional space to provide inmates with mental health support.
Part of the old jail will be turned into a juvenile facility with about 30 beds, according to Burns. He hopes this will provide convenience for law enforcement agencies that currently have to transport all juvenile offenders to Columbia.
“Nobody in the Upstate has a juvenile facility,” Burns said.
“We think it’ll not only benefit Anderson but hopefully it will benefit the people in Oconee, Pickens, Abbeville and Greenville who may decide to come here instead of going to Columbia.”
Burns said they hope to begin construction in 2024 or 2025. The facility is expected to be completed in 2026.
“The jail itself will be one of the most secure buildings in all of the Upstate, let alone the state, because of the advancements in technology,” Remien said.