New Pickens County Detention Center opens

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PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA)- The new Pickens County Detention Center is open after years of planning and months of delay.

“We moved about 300 and some people here just a couple days ago in one day and without incident,” said Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark.

The old detention center, built decades ago, was in poor condition and overcrowded, according to the sheriff.

“We were ready for 92 people in the old jail,” he said. “Sometimes we’d have 241, 250.”

The sheriff said the new facility will be safer for staff and inmates.

“Visibility is probably the best thing. We can see through the whole place. There’s cameras everywhere,” Clark said.

The new facility will hold inmates waiting to go before a judge and those have been convicted, but they’ll be kept in separate areas.

“This will be about 363 at its largest,” Clark said.

The architect said the building is designed to make expansion easy.

“It will serve the county well for many years,” said Dan Mace with Moseley Architects.

The new facility was supposed to open at the end of June, but difficulty hiring guards held up the process. In August, the Pickens County Council forked over more than $300,000 to raise starting salaries to about $37,000 dollars, in line with other nearby counties.

“We’ve got a great working relationship with the sheriff,” said Roy Costner, who is the chairman of Pickens County Council. “When he comes to us and says here’s what our need is, not here what our want is, we try our best to work together to give him that.”

Costner said the project came in under budget and is being funded by bonds. He said taxes have not increased to pay for it.

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