Morgan County Jail Expanding
Versailles opened a new jail less than a decade ago.
"The jail was designed so that the prisoners would never go outside and we've got automatic windows in that room," said Bill Arment, Morgan County presiding commissioner.
But, by next spring, the county must build an addition to meet federal Naturalization and Immigration Service standards for housing illegal immigrants. Morgan County already receives about $1 million a year for housing them.
"When we opened the building, we realized that we needed some extra income to pay for the building and to help offset the cost of the building," explained Tim Harlin, jail administrator.
So the county will build a $100,000 outdoor recreation area which must be ready by next spring's annual inspection. The expansion will add a metal roof, a north wall and a stronger fence to enclose the area, which will be used for at least one hour a day.
Arment said it's a small price to pay for millions of dollars that have poured into the county's general revenue since the program began three years ago.
The expansion is the latest step in a process that began in 1999 when the jail opened. It began holding illegal immigrants in 2003.