Jail work progressing

Published 5:19 pm Thursday, August 8, 2013

Repairs to the Beaufort County Detention Center could be completed by mid-September, allowing inmates to return to the jail if the state gives the green light to do so.

Christina Smith, Beaufort County’s public-works director, gave a jail-repairs update to the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners during its meeting Monday. As part of the process to return inmates to the jail, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services will inspect the repaired jail to determine if it’s ready to receive those inmates.

A wiring problem in a commercial dryer caused the evacuation and closure of the jail in June. Engineers looking into the situation said the dryer issue was part of underlying, potentially dangerous electrical problems in the jail.

The jail was hit with power outages June 6 and June 8, forcing Sheriff Alan Jordan to abandon the facility until the problems are corrected. Beaufort County inmates are being held at other jails or correctional facilities at a cost of roughly $55 per inmate, per day, a cost that doesn’t include extra manpower and transportation costs.

An emergency generator required for the jail, located in the basement of the Beaufort County Courthouse, is on site and the concrete pad for it has been poured, Smith said. Installation of the generator is expected to be completed by next week. Watson Electric is doing the generator work.

Power Products & Solutions Inc. out of Charlotte inspected and performed preventative maintenance activities on the switchgear for the courthouse Saturday. That work required a complete shutdown of the electrical systems at the courthouse for that day. The company is preparing a report and will advise of any recommended future work for the switchgear.

Smith said each of the six breakers had “issues.” PP&S is developing repair/replace options for the switchgear and the estimated costs of those options, Smith noted. During repair or replacement work, the county would be able to rent breakers to help facilitate repairs and/or replacement efforts, she said.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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