Jail to hold ribbon-cutting

LAWRENCEVILLE - A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Tuesday for a new building addition that promises to alleviate overcrowding and improve safety at the Gwinnett County Detention Center.

The four-story tower will provide room for an additional 1,440 beds, plus a new cafeteria and health care ward.

"It will relieve some of the overcrowding in the existing facility, which will take some strain off the deputies in the housing units," said Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway. "The staff has done a great job in overseeing this project."

The current jail is designed to safely house 1,200 inmates, but its population has swelled at times above 2,200. Jail staff has been forced to have three inmates sleep in cells built for two. About 480 Gwinnett inmates are shipped out to other county jails at an expense of $35 to $45 a day.

Officials expect to begin moving inmates into the housing units within the next 30 days, Conway said.