Addition at detention center delayed at least a week; New wing to be occupied by inmates in phases


The opening of the 100-bed addition at the Carroll County Detention Center has been delayed at least until next week, and it can't come soon enough to end inmate crowding, officials said yesterday.

Yesterday's census reached 198 inmates, four below the record, said Lt. Ed Spencer, who monitors the construction of the $6.1 million addition for Lt. Col. George R. Hardinger, the warden.

Hardinger had expected inmates to move into the new wing this week, enabling his staff to begin a search for leftover construction materials -- items such as metal rods or pieces of wire -- that could be fashioned into weapons.

Hardinger also said his staff would hold a run-through to anticipate and resolve problems that might occur once the wing is occupied. For instance, individual showers might work, but what will happen when all are turned on simultaneously?

"A meeting with the contractor and architects to go over the final punch list is scheduled Wednesday," Spencer said yesterday."After reviewing that list, if there is nothing major left to be done, we could take over the [new] building immediately."

Reasons for the latest delay included the repainting of a first-level floor in the work-release area, Spencer said.

"The materials were supposed to be here [today]and the work completed over the weekend, or by Monday at the latest," he said.

Plans call for the new wing to be occupied in phases, and inmates who leave and return daily to work outside the Westminster facility will be the first to move, Hardinger has said.

Other necessary repairs included doors that needed adjusting, and contractors were waiting on parts of a lock that needed to be changed, Spencer said.

Built for a capacity of 146, the detention center has housed 160 or more inmates the past two years, peaking at 202 last year.

To handle the overflow, jail administrators were forced to place extra cots in the gymnasium and in day rooms, areas where prisoners can mingle outside their double-occupancy cells.

Crowding became a major issue in 1997 when the former Sheriff John H. Brown tried to house inmates in tents.

Pub Date: 9/24/99

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