Board rejects jail-order motion
Published 5:07 pm Tuesday, February 4, 2014
The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners during its meeting Monday rejected a motion to ask Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons Jr. to dissolve his order regarding a new jail in the county.
Commissioner Hood Richardson made the motion, but it was defeated. Voting against it were board Chairman Jerry Langley and commissioners Al Klemm, Ed Booth and Robert Belcher. Voting for the motion were Richardson and commissioners Stan Deatherage and Gary Brinn.
Richardson contends the existing jail meets state jail guidelines and still has a useful life. That’s partly why he wanted Sermons, the resident Superior Court judge in the 2nd Judicial District, to dissolve the order he issued in September in the wake of the jail being evacuated for safety reasons after several problems, including power outages, hit the jail in June of last year. The jail reopened Sept. 13 of last year and began housing inmates again. Along with issuing an order reopening the jail, Sermons also ordered, “That the Board of Commissioners shall continue to plan and design a county jail that meets the minimum standards in the State of North Carolina. That such planning and construction shall proceed in as timely a manner as possible given the time restraints of architectural service, financing, and construction times.”
Sermons further required the Board of Commissioners to submit a written progress report on the new jail before each administrative session of Beaufort County Criminal Superior Court. That order included a list of those dates.
Some commissioners, especially Commissioner Hood Richardson, took exception to Sermons’ order regarding the building of a new jail.
Richardson contends the county does not need a new jail because the existing jail meets state standards regarding jails.
‘This is an incredible event you just witnessed. You’ve elected these people to look after your money. They’re not looking after it. They want to build a new jail. They don’t care what anybody else says. That’s a very defining moment for them in what’s going on here,” Richardson told the audience after the vote was taken.