“The longer you delay something, the more it costs to do,” said Middle River Regional Jail Superintendent Jeffery Newton.
Middle River Regional Jail has been trying to expand and renovate its facility.
“Middle River has been operating at 200 percent capacity for the last four years,” Newton explained.
The expansion plan at Middle River is being considered throughout various localities in the Shenandoah Valley.
Jail leaders said that the need does not stop at adding more beds. They say the almost 15-year-old facility is in need of renovations as well.
“The facility is designed for 396 and the core of the facility, the HVAC system the hot water system, the kitchen the laundry, all of those support services, were designed for 150 percent capacity so about 600 inmates,” Newton explained.
Stephen King is the chairman of the Jail Authority Board. He said the cost is of concern, but he is for the expansion.
“We don’t like the idea of spending these kinds of funds on a jail facility this is definitely not our desire. We would look to control costs as much as possible. But we have a need to add some bed-space to properly care for those people who are under our custody,” King explained. “At the same time, we need to continue efforts to reduce or limit the growth of people who do get incarcerated.”
Newton said he knows building a jail is never a popular discussion.
“I understand that but at the end of the day, I need to safely manage the population that is placed in our custody and continuing to operate at 200 percent capacity, just really isn’t a reasonable expectation,” Newton added.