Overcrowding the System

By: Alana Adams
By: Alana Adams

Just last week, Newschannel 7 told you about some pretty serious overcrowding problems at the county jail. Now, there are complaints about the living conditions Bay County Jail annex.

Five hundred forty seven people are held at the annex, exceeding its capacity by 78 people. Mary Hughes, the public information officer, says it may be a bit overcrowded, but it hasn't created any problems.

"As far as any more incidents of any more problems, there are no significant differences that we've been able to see other than stress for the inmates obviously being more crowded."

Tammy Finch was released Monday night after serving about a month at the annex. Finch says there just isn't enough room.

"The dorm I was in is supposed to hold 80 women, we had 113 in there."

Hughes says Finch's dorm was probably the "H" dorm, which is set up to hold 96 women. The cells are called pods and the number of women in each pod is posted for all to see. The other three pods have two-bed rooms and an open community room. These pods are supposed to hold 12 women, but are usually closer to 24 to 30.

Hughes understands Finch's complaint but says it's not as bad as expected.

"I don't know of any instances where we've ever put a mattress on the floor and put somebody on it, we've always had them up on the bunk."

Kimberly Smith is a registered nurse and in charge of the clinic, and she says inmates receive normal medical care as needed. Smith also says despite being overcrowded, the staff is able to keep up with the sick calls that come through every day.

"We're a routine medical clinic, anything you can think of why you need to be seen in a clinic on the streets, we do that here."

Over-crowding is something the Bay County corrections system deals with everyday. The total capacity for the Bay County Jail and the annex is set at 685; however, 1,016 are currently in the system.


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