CHELSEA – Kennebec County officials are considering a plan to house inmates from the overcrowded county jail in a vacant commercial building in Chelsea, a town neighboring Augusta where the jail is located.
Preliminary plans call for the building to house 24 inmates with short sentences for offenses such as passing bad checks and drunken driving, but the building eventually could house as many as 50 offenders.
The county jail in Augusta was built to house 132 inmates but now has permission from the state to keep 170 inmates. On Tuesday, more than 200 people were being housed there.
“We’re looking at alternative housing and sentencing programs that are cost-effective,” said Bob Devlin, county administrator. “The alternative is to spend $1 million to board them out at other facilities.”