Jail reports steady but manageable inmate bookings for 2011

achristnovich@beaufortgazette.comMarch 5, 2012 

2008 and 2011 jail statistics

The Beaufort County jail's average number of bookings has steadily decreased since peaking in 2008.


  • Number of inmates booked in a year: 5,424

  • Average monthly population: 223

  • Average length of inmate stay: 15 days

  • 2008

  • Number of inmates booked in a year: 7,536

  • Average monthly population: 366

  • Average length of inmate stay: 18 days

  • Source: Beaufort County Detention Center Year-End Report

    On the Web Along with operating below its 255-inmate capacity for the third year in a row, the Beaufort County Detention Center reported no deaths, riots, escapes or major disturbances in 2011.

    However, there were seven assaults on staff by inmates, 24 injuries from inmate fights, 50 threats of suicide and 62 "code reds" or incidents that required a full staff response, according to the jail's annual report.

    The data, as well as updates on the jail's services, were presented Monday by detention center director Philip Foot to the County Council's Governmental Committee.

    "The detention center has a lot going on inside it that a lot of people don't realize," Foot said. Building maintenance is a "huge task," he said, because the jail provides almost all the same services as a city, such as medical care, food, shelter, utilities and education programs.

    "Understand that the building never closes, never shuts down, and we have people inside there that obviously don't want to be there, and they like to tear things up," he said.

    Though the jail opened in 1992, Foot said the harsh treatment has rendered its condition similar to a building that's about 70 years old.

    Extra strain was also put on the building when it was overcrowded. In 2008, the monthly average of inmates was about 111 too many. Foot said efforts by the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office to keep career criminals locked up have helped, but he said he can't fully explain what's caused the drop in bookings. It's been operating between its ideal capacity of 204 inmates and the 255-inmate maximum since late 2009, he said.

    "You have 255 beds, but your operating capacity is 204. Once you start operating above 204, what's the significance?" committee member Gerald Dawson said.

    Foot said processing inmates to the appropriate units is like a chess game.

    "If I have 40 beds for female inmates, but I only have 19 females, I can't move males into that unit, so you lose those beds operationally," he said. "You have to understand that we have people that have issues out on the streets coming in together, and we also have co-defendants that can't be housed together, and those kinds of things."

    Follow reporter Anne Christnovich on Twitter at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufortCo

    Showers, more bathrooms to be added to Beaufort County jail's gym, March 1, 2012

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