Fake News and the Beaufort County jail | Beaufort County Now | A solution looking for a problem

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Fake News and the Beaufort County Jail

 BY: Hood Richardson   

We tend to believe fake news comes from those in Washington, DC.  Maybe it comes from the national press.  That’s not entirely true.  We have an abundance of fake news here in Beaufort County.

Several times, during this elections season, I have heard comments from  two Commissioner candidates about the need for a new jail.  They are Frankie Waters and Dawn Slann.  Fake Frankie Waters said during the Republican forum on April 25 at the Community College that he ran for commissioner to get a new jail.  Dawn Slann has on several occasions stated her support for a new jail to correct conditions in the jail.

The need for a new jail is the biggest piece of false information in Beaufort County.  There is no justification for a new jail.  The proof of this is iron clad and backed up by documents from the State of North Carolina and Beaufort County. 

The State of North Carolina inspects all jails every six months.  Since we reopened the jail, after the great Ernie Coleman, Jerry Evans, Frankie Waters fiasco about two years ago, the State of North Carolina has issued reports in writing that clearly make the statement that there are “no issues with the Beaufort County Jail”.  Don’t believe me?  Call the Beaufort County Manager’s office and ask him to email you the last several reports.

The jail is permitted for 87 inmates.  The report at the end of April of 2022 says we have 43 people in the jail.  It is only half full.

If you still do not believe me, ask for a tour of the jail, see for yourself.

Based on the facts presented in the two above paragraphs, I ask Fake Frankie Waters and Dawn Slann to explain why they say we need a new jail.

Fake Frankie Waters outfoxed himself when he joined with Ernie Coleman to shut down the jail because a few cells needed door repairs.  Coleman deliberately did not have doors repaired and then talked Fake Frankie and Jerry Evans into closing he jail for repairs.  This cost Beaufort County over four million dollars.  Mostly because of mismanagement on the part of Fake Frankie and the Sheriff.

I, along with Stan Deatherage, insisted that every conceivable repair be made to the jail while it was out of service and the inmates farmed out to nearby jails.  That is why the jail is 100 percent in compliance with the laws of the State of North Carolina.

As to the jail being half full, five and six years ago we had up to 120 people in the jail.  After looking at why so many people were in jail, with a lot of cooperation among the District Attorney’s office, the judges and some changes in policy relating to bail bonds, the jail population has been reduced to half full.

Fake Frankie is still working to spend as much of your money as he can.  I made a motion to use two million dollars of the Covid stimulus funds to build out the basement of the courthouse for jail use.  This would give us about 18 additional cells, plus a better intake area and nurses station.  Fake Frankie and the jail committee now have that worked up to a two story building behind the court house with new offices for the Sheriff’s Department, the magistrates and a below ground sally port (secure parking for transfer of inmates) at a cost of 14 million dollars.  For this we still only get 18 new cells. That is another twelve million out of your pocket for something that is not needed.

I will only support the two million dollars to build out the basement of the courthouse into additional jail facilities.  That cost us nothing because we have been given the stimulus funds.  Fake Frankie wants to spend another 12 million.

In the simplest of terms, anybody who says there is a need for any more jail than what we have is simply lying.  The jail is a fake issue.

All of the above not with standing, another death on April 29 in the jail has been reported by local news media.  At this writing, commissioners have not been informed about anything.  This death is distressing considering the information presented in this article.  My observation is that the problems in the jail are caused by the inability of Sheriff Ernie Coleman to manage.  We will have more on this when we get information from the investigation.

Frankie Waters, along the other members of the “Gang of Four” (Jerry Langley, Ed Booth and John Rebholz) are a big part of our problems in the Sheriff’s office.  For some reason they believe they work for the Sheriff.  Actually, the Commissioners hold the purse strings.  Because of Fake Frankie’s support of the Sheriff, we have wasted at least ten million dollars over the past 8 years.  We paid the architect 1.6 million for a set of plans for a jail that will never be built, two million wasted on communications towers, four million on shutting down the jail, simply because Coleman would not call a repair man. 

Please remember this when you go to vote. There are only two conservatives running for Commissioner in the May 17 Republican primary.  They are Tandy Dunn and Stan Deatherage.

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( May 2nd, 2022 @ 10:22 pm )
( May 2nd, 2022 @ 9:23 pm )
Even though Beaufort County Commissioner Hood Richardson has no unilateral power to resolve issues regarding this jail, this Commissioner is as right on all matters pertaining to the Beaufort County jail as any elected official within my recollection.

The man has done a great deal of good by staying engaged with a firm tenacity.

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