GASTON COUNTY, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger says inmates inside this jail are sleeping in what are called canoe or boat beds, which sit on the floor.
“It's like a cot that lies on the floor, it's not elevated up,” Sheriff Cloninger says. “Being overcrowded and having to sleep people on the floor is not indicative of a good safe place.”
The sheriff says the jail has been overcrowded for almost a year, averaging between 44 and 74 inmates over capacity.
The sheriff has asked county commissioners to consider a plan that would cut down on the jail population by putting some inmates on electronic ankle monitors and releasing them from jail.
“The idea of letting people out of jail, it can't be a popular one, how do you defend that? I don't look at the popularity of it, the program that we presented to the district court judges is that this ankle bracelet program would be a strongly, heavily-monitored one,” Sheriff Cloninger said.
The sheriff says the ankle monitor plan would be cheaper than the seven to eight million dollars it would cost to build an addition to the jail.
He says inmates with low-level felonies and misdemeanors may be considered for ankle monitors the ultimate decision would rest with a judge.
“It's the best temporary solution to take care of the immediate problem and look for other solutions to take care of the future problem,” he says.