Beaufort County Jail Allowed To Reopen For Inmates

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A county jail that's been closed for most of the summer was allowed to reopen again to prisoners.

Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons signed on order today reopening the Beaufort County Detention Center at noon.

The facility closed in early June due to ongoing electrical problems. Prisoners had to be housed in other facilities and the county says it's estimated they spent around $500,000 between the repairs and added costs to keep the prisoners elsewhere.

Deputies say they immediately began to return inmates to the jail in a process that's expected to take several days.

The detention center has a maximum capacity of 85 beds, but with 102 inmates housed at other facilities, Beaufort County says it will still have to incur added costs to keep those prisoners at other jails.

The county continues to discuss building a new jail south of Chocowinity.

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A Beaufort County commissioner has resigned from his position on the county's jail committee, after a referendum he motioned for was voted down.

Beaufort County Commissioner Gary Brinn called for a public referendum on the future of the county's jail, saying with the amount of money a new one would cost, the citizens should be the ones to determine the county's course of action.

At the commissioners meeting Monday night, Brinn's motion was voted down 4 votes to 3. Immediately, he resigned from the appointed jail committee, saying he no longer wants to be a part of the process. He spoke to WITN before the meeting about what led to his idea for the referendum.

"it's a hot topic. Everywhere I go it's: what are we doing with the jail, why do we need a new jail, what's wrong with the old jail? I got tired of hearing about it. So now I'm looking to do something about it," said Brinn.

According to Sheriff Alan Jordan, the goal is to have the prisoners back in the current facility by the end of the week. They've been vacated since early June due to electrical issues which has cost the county an estimated $500,000.