Commissioner Try to Close Gulf County Jail

The current problems at the gulf county jail stems from budget shortages. Several years ago the state phased out jail inspections to save money, leaving those to county officials.

In Gulf County, that's the county commission, which has a jail administrator, Michael Hammond. Hammond says the jail is running efficiently and meets the majority of the standards, but not all of them.
That has some commissioners concerned.

"If we are going to have a jail facility, it needs to be running properly and it needs to be meeting the minimum standards set by law," said commissioner Joanna Bryan.

Gulf County is already shipping female inmates to Bay County because there are not enough female corrections officers. Commissioners pay Bay County $41 a day, which has saved Gulf County approximately $250,000.

So Bryan suggested expanding that arrangement. But the idea was voted down before it even got off the ground.

Brain explained, "The board can take a vote to keep the jail here, as you know i voted with them because at this point we don't have an option. We are going to keep the jail here for now, but we need to consider to take the step to move the inmates to another location."

"The last couple years, we've been looking at the budget trying to find ways to save money. The jail was just one of them that was brought up and we looked into it," said commissioner Tan Smiley.

The largest savings would come from cutting jobs, which some say is not the way to save money.

"Yeah commissioners spoke up about trying to save jobs. 15 correction officer jobs and we are in the business of trying to bring jobs to Gulf County," continued Smiley.

The jail returned 160-thousand of it's 1-point-2 million dollar budget to the county commission last year.