Crowded Courthouse

By: Jason Davis
By: Jason Davis

Florida's jails and courtrooms are doing a booming business. Jackson County is no exception. Overcrowding means some courthouse workers are calling some unusual places their workplace home.

The courthouse was built in the 60s, and with all the growth that Jackson County's seen since then, no one's surprised that they've outgrown it.

Robyn Hatcher, a deputy court administrator, says, "At that time no one used computers. The fax lines, even the electrical systems to be upgraded. The space has just become limited."

It has become so limited that a little creativity has to used.

"This is the break room, and we've had to stick [her] here because there is no other place to place her in the courthouse."

"Which ever staff attorney that we have had at the time has been down here since 1977. We've used the basement all that time for office space."

Court administrator Robyn Hatcher says this courthouse was not built with the future in mind.

"The court system itself has grown, where it's not just a judge and his secretary anymore. We also have other staff. We have a court administrator staff. We have a case management staff. We have a magistrate because the caseload has grown so much in Jackson County.

It’s a temporary solution for these close quarters. The county plans to rent some nearby office space.

"We're very appreciative to the county commission letting us go ahead with these moves and we'll be meeting with the state attorney and public defender to see the timeline on these moves.”

County officials have also applied for the funding to build a new administration building. Workers use the jury lounge for office space. Up to four employees have had to use the law library, located in the courthouse basement, as an office.


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