Fla. Jail To Add Medical Facility
(02/24/2011)

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. — The Hernando County Detention Center will build a new medical facility to fix problems with the existing medical area and provide better housing for juvenile offenders.

The Hernando County Commission unanimously agreed to seek proposals for a separate $1.2 million to $1.5 million facility Tuesday.

The engineering firm that examined the Hernando County Detention Center last year recommended reassigning space in the jail and building additions to several areas at a cost of $3.7 million. The price tag was too high, according to the Commission.

The Commission last year approved $3 million from reserve funds for jail maintenance.

Commissioners also approved seeking bids or quotes to complete another $155,000 worth of repairs at the facility.

After the medical facility is completed, juvenile inmates will be moved to the existing medical area. Juveniles are currently being housed in a 40-inmate pod. Maj. Michael Page, administrator for the detention center, said the extra jail space is necessary to ease overcrowding in the center.

He also said more medical beds are needed. Fourteen inmates are currently being housed in the 9-bed unit, and, Page added, there are inmates in the general population who should be housed in the medical unit.

The new facility would hold between 27 and 40 beds.

Officials hope that in addition to providing extra space housing space, the new medical facility will attract federal prisoners to the county, providing county coffers with an additional revenue stream. 

Page said the medical unit showed “22 years of neglect” under former private operator Corrections Corporation of America, which contributed to the federal government pulling it prisoners from the facility two years ago.

Plumbing problems and rat and roach infestations plagued the detention center, and CCA had capped the sprinkler heads.

Page noted that the county would not be able to attract federal prisoners without a new medical facility.

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