St. Lucie County Jail Exceeds Capacity Limit-Officials Look to The Panhandle for Jail Space

Officials say as many as 100 inmates may be shipped to Florida's Panhandle, the only region with available jail beds.

The Sheriff's Office reported the jail exceeded its one-thousand-two-hundred-seven-person capacity by five on Thursday. By the end of the day, after 10 people were released on their own recognizance, the population was back within the accepted limit.

Last month, the county commission approved a 576-bed expansion, which is not scheduled to be completed until next year. In the meantime, mattresses are spread out across the facility's floors every night, then stacked under the stairs in the morning.

Guards leave cell doors open, so people sleeping on the floor can access bathrooms.

County leaders in Stuart are quoted as saying the want to contract with jail in Northwest Florida to house some of their inmates. That may be hard to do right now.

Bay and Walton County jails are all overcrowded. Others in the area are close to capacity, with the exception of Bonifay, Chipley and Marianna jails.