The Dorchester County Detention Center has been near or over capacity in recent months while several inmates have been awaiting their trial for hundreds of days.
Sheriff L.C. Knight told News 2 on Thursday that the jail had 272 inmates staying there, just over its maximum capacity of 266. At least 30 of the inmates have been at the detention center for over 300 days. The longest-serving inmate has there for 1,089 days.
The 30 longest serving inmates have been charged with murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, sexual exploitation of a minor and other charges.
The sheriff said the issue could be caused by both rapid growth and not enough funding and resources for the different agencies involved in the court process.
“I think the problem is that everybody, everybody including us, don’t have enough,” said Sheriff Knight. “I mean the court system, the solicitor’s office, the public defenders – all of them could use more staff, more money to operate on.”
The county invested $23 million dollars to build the jail that opened in 2016.
Sheriff Knight said the detention center was designed to handle up to 500 inmates and has room to expand. Dorchester County Council would have to authorize and fund that expansion before the jail could handle additional inmates.