From The Tribune staff reports
PELL CITY — The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office announced the closure of the county jail in Pell City. The jail will close beginning on Monday, July 13, at 5 p.m.
Sheriff Billy Murray said the aging facility needs to be assessed.
“We’re at the point now that we need to evaluate and see what can be fixed, how it can be fixed and how long it’s going to take,” Murray said. “But we didn’t have any specific issues at all.”
The St. Clair County Commission is working alongside the sheriff’s office and the Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office on the assessment. The sheriff’s office said there have been no condition-related incidents or injuries at the jail.
“Primarily, it’s the same stuff you have in any dated facility,” said Murray. “When you have a decades-old facility, it just comes with those things.”
Murray said roofing, plumbing, electrical and the generator will be looked at to make sure the building is structurally sound and safe. The building was last remodeled in 1994 but the sheriff said there have been some minor upgrades since then.
In order to ensure the safety of inmates and employees, the jail will be evacuated while an architect team comes in and evaluates the situation.
“I know it’s abrupt, but I felt like the sooner I moved, the more I could shorten the downtime,” Murray added. “We are at the point now where we need a thorough assessment and we want to spend money wisely.”
Surrounding counties and the Alabama Department of Corrections have agreed to assist in the temporary placement of inmates.
In a press release, the sheriff’s office said it hopes leaders of the county move to make any needed improvements.
“It falls to the current leadership in St. Clair County to address these issues,” the press release stated.