GALLIA COUNTY, OH (WOWK) — The Gallia County Board of Commissioners, along with other local officials, put shovel-to-earth Friday to announce the beginning of construction for a new and improved county jail.
“Today we’re honored to have a groundbreaking for a jail facility here in Gallia County. A much-needed jail I might add,” says Harold Montgomery, president of the Gallia County Board of Commissioners.
The current corrections situation in the county has troubled local officials for years.
“Let me give you a little bit of history of the current jail: It was opened in 1964. At the time it was built to have a 38-bed population,” Montgomery says.
However, as time went on, the population capacity has been greatly reduced due to regulations. Now, the existing jail has a capacity of only 11 beds.
For Gallia County’s Sheriff Matt Champlin, this is a huge problem.
“Bed space is a concern. We average right around 85 inmate population a day,” Champlin says.
The limited space means they’ve had to transport inmates arrested locally to other facilities around the state—sometimes as much as four hours away—taxing the local departments’ manpower and budgets.
It’s for this reason the county is ready to move forward on the new facility.
“It’s going to be a 120-bed jail. It’s going to accommodate our need and maybe have some availability for some of our neighboring counties,” Montgomery says.
The $20 million, 33,000 square foot project boasts a facility with much more than just beds: it will also have an outdoor recreation area, a full-service kitchen, and medical treatment areas including a drug treatment facility.
“It’s something that we all know that we need—our community needs—and ultimately it’s going to be for the betterment of the people of Gallia County,” Champlin says.
Local officials say the construction is set to begin soon, with a tentative completion date in the Fall of 2022. The new facility is to be constructed northeast of the Gallia County Courthouse, on Second Avenue.