Gulf County Jail Closing?

Inmates in the Gulf County Jail in Port St. Joe could be headed to Bay County. That's something Bay County commissioners will have to decide when they meet again next week, and they'll have plenty of questions before they make a decision.

Gulf County Sheriff Dalton Upchurch says he can no longer afford to operate the old and run-down jail in Port St Joe. He plans to turn it over to the county January 1.

Gulf County commissioners will ask Bay County commissioners Tuesday to take between 50 and 55 Gulf County inmates into the Bay County facility operated by CCA.

Bay County commissioner Jerry Girvin says if the county takes on the inmates he wants to be sure there is enough space, that this isn't an open ended arrangement, and that the county isn't responsible for the inmates medical bills.

"We're building a new facility because of space and physical condition at the existing jail, so that would be my primary question. Can we afford the space to do this or are we putting ourselves at risk?"

Bay County commissioners will hear from Gulf County officials on Tuesday. They hope to make a decision by the first meeting in January.

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