City Commissioners consider alternative jail

Georgia Department Corrections Director of Probation Operations Stan Cooper

The Georgia Department Corrections gave a presentation to Albany City Commissioners on the possibility of an alternative jail in Albany or Dougherty County.

The alternative jail would be a "Day Reporting Center" which is a non-residential, highly structured program for offenders who will participate in substance abuse treatment coupled with intensive supervision.

The department bases the locations off of need and since Southwest Georgia has a high incarceration rate, the center would alleviate the crowding in the Dougherty County Jail. It cost $47 a day to house an inmate at the Dougherty County Jail but a day reporting center would only cost $16 a day.

Georgia has 13 Day Reporting Centers and Dougherty County is slated to receive the fourteenth location. However with all other centers being fully funded by the state, Commissioner Chris Pike wanted to know will foot the $678,000 yearly bill. "What I wanted to do was kind of look at what is going to be our involvement in the center and what is it going to cost the city. We need to have an analysis of that so we know exactly what we're getting into" says Pike.

State officials say it's a win-win situation because in the long run the city will save money and at the same time they're helping reform probationers by giving them the tools that they need to succeed.

Commissioners say they like the idea of a day reporting center, but can't afford to foot the entire bill. Once they get the facts and figures they'll decide whether or not to support it.