Jail expansion being discussed in Belmont County

Special to the Enterprise

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Belmont County Commissioners and Sheriff Dave Lucas are discussing an expansion of the Belmont County Jail – as overcrowding has been an issue.

The facility was built in 1996. However, in 2008, another expansion was added.

The jail is designed to hold 144 beds. Pre-pandemic, the average daily population was 189.

Many inmates were temporarily being housed in other counties, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, according to local authorities.

The Belmont County Sheriff's Office wants to be ready if the jail population rises again. And future development could bring an influx of people.

A study was completed that shows there is room to add on to the facility.

How many more beds that will entail is unknown at this time. A 2019 study recommended doubling the size of the jail.

Just how much the expansion will cost is still undetermined.

Commissioners are currently looking at state funding possibilities.

There is no word yet on when the expansion will take place or the total cost.