PICKENS COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) – A new detention center is open in Pickens County and officials are very proud of how it turned out.

The county council allocated $29.5 million dollars toward the state of the art facility.

They say they are one million dollars under budget at this time.

The Chairman for the county council told me today that this is a big step towards solving a statewide and even national issue that many areas are trying to solve, which is the overcrowding of jails.

They want to do what is best by the people who are housed in detention centers who are presumed innocent and are awaiting trial.

Pickens County is unveiling their new state of the art detention center.

It includes updated video conferencing for communication with family, security upgrades for the jail cells, as well as the intake process.

This facility has a separate intake area that will be used for anyone who has mental health or substance abuse issues.

Jail officials say they will be taken through a secure area to keep everyone involved safe as well as the suspect.

County Council Chairman Roy B. Costner says this is a big investment in the future of Pickens County.

“We want this to last a long time and we don’t want to just do it for the sake of doing it,” says Costner.

He went on to say, “this facility not only makes it safe for the people who are housed here, but the programs at the Sheriff has implemented with mental health.

Costner believes this is an opportunity to rehabilitate and give people a chance to make life better so that they can serve their time then get out and be productive, tax paying citizens.

Something senator Karl Allen says is imperative to eliminating what he calls a revolving door in jails across the state.

Senator Karl Allen says, “It’s no doubt that the statistics show it is better to build people than it is to build prisons; to provide services than warehouse them. So I am for giving second chances to those who deserve a second chance when is the money where we get the best bang for our buck.”

Senator Allen continued saying, “we don’t have recidivism. We don’t want a revolving door. We don’t want to continue to build more prisons just to house individuals. We must focus on the services and the rehabilitation that are needed.”

County councilman Costner agrees that is the goal that they are planning to achieve with this new facility.

Costner says, “there are councilmen that I have talked to you, especially the lower part of the state where they have the same problem. You want to be able to house peoples safely, and work effectively to get them as quickly as possible to their trial because a lot of times people that are here they are waiting trial. We have got to treat them with respect and they have not been found guilty of anything so we have to keep them here until they have their time in court.”

Senator Allen says he wants the people of South Carolina to know that “it takes less money and makes more sense to rehabilitate a person rather than to house them in a facility somewhere.”

He hopes to encourage every city to consider building “individuals in South Carolina and make them state of the art citizens that are being productive paying taxes and supporting their families and building their self-esteem.”

Allen cited the eighth amendment saying, they have to make sure that the housing is not “cruel and unusual punishment,” and they should have air, health care, good food, etc.

Allen believes, “A dollar will split it would be on a rehabilitation giving them mental health treatment and giving them education and soft skills that are necessary so that we can one day close that state of the art facility because no one is because they are out and being productive.”

Reporter Amber Worthy – Fox Carolina News

PAID FOR BY SENATOR ALLEN

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