Beaufort County Jail Problems Spark War Of Words Between Sheriff & Commissioner

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Beaufort County Sheriff Alan Jordan says when it comes to the commissioners letting Hood Richardson dictate the future of the jail, "They need to step up and quit letting the nut run the nut house. They need to step up and let their voice be heard."

Sheriff Jordan's frustration comes after a second power failure over the weekend forced the relocation of all inmates from the jail in the basement of the courthouse.

Jordan also says the facility is unsafe because of the close promixity of the inmates to their detention officers. He says inmates inside their cells could easily grab detention officers on the outside.

Commissioner Hood Richardson responded saying, "For him to say the jailers are not safe is untrue."

Richardson says spending millions for a new jail just doesn't make sense. Richardson says, "Just because Alan Jordan and his terrific ego would like to have a new jail before he goes out of office and say he was the one that got that I don't think, if it's up to me, that's going to happen cause it costs too much money for the taxpayers of Beaufort County."

While the power is back on at the jail, Jordan says employees and inmates will not be back until he can be assured it is safe for them to be there.

The commissioners have not budgeted for a new jail, just for repairs.


One county jail in Eastern Carolina is shut down because of continuing electrical problems.

The Beaufort County Detention Center was evacuated again Saturday night because of no power. All 67 inmates were sent to other facilities in the area.

The Sheriff's Office says around 9:40 p.m. the city's electrical system experienced a surge and the courthouse and jail lost power. An auxiliary generator kicked in and power was restored. But within 15 minutes, a malfunction within the jail's wiring caused a breaker to trip and smoke was detected in the facility.

On Thursday night, inmates were evacuated when the jail lost power before Tropical Storm Andrea moved through the area. As inmates were being evacuated, power was restored.

The county says inmates will not return to the jail until the source of the electrical problems can be found and fixed.

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A power failure at a county jail prior to the arrival of Tropical Storm Andrea forced the relocation of inmates overnight.

Power went out shortly after 11:00 p.m. at the Beaufort County Detention Center. The facility is located in the basement of the Beaufort County Courthouse in Washington.

Temperatures quickly rose to 91 degrees inside the jail, while auxiliary lighting was brought in.

Deputies began transporting 45 inmates to other facilities in the area, while the Department of Correction brought in a bus to take inmates to Bertie Correctional Institute in Windsor.

Around 6:40 a.m. maintenance crews were able to restore power and inmates were returned to the jail.

Crews have been unable to determine the exact cause of the outage, but it has been traced to the facility's utility infrastructure that is approximately 40 years old.

Sheriff Alan Jordan has been pushing for a new jail, but so far county commissioners have not finalized any plans.

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