Housing charge for prisoners increases

By Ben Robinson
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — When Pickens city police officers make an arrest, they may have to start being more lenient on who they send to jail, as Pickens County’s fee for use of cells in the law enforcement center has increased from $24 a night to $65 a night.

Pickens police chief Rodney Gregory reported the new pricing during Pickens City Council’s work session Monday night.

“I’m not real happy about it,” Gregory said. “The only police departments it affects are Liberty and ourselves.”

“Think about this,” mayor David Owens said. “The sheriff’s department does their arrests in the county. They house those prisoners there, because it’s the Pickens County jail. Well, county residents are footing the bill for the jail with Pickens County taxes.

“So the city residents are paying county taxes, and we still have to turn around and pay again for the city’s arrests? That’s not right. We’re paying twice.”

“Liberty is not happy with it, and we’re not happy at all,” Gregory said.

Gregory proposed that his department start issuing citations with fines rather more often than requiring jail terms.

“If they’re a danger to society, they’ll go to jail, I don’t care what it costs,” Gregory said.

‘Seems like the mayor ought to send a letter to county council, just to tell them our opinion,” Owens said. “It may not help a bit.”