Sandy Springs will relocate inmates from Pickens County to Smyrna

After an approval by its city council, Sandy Springs will relocate its prison inmates from Pickens County to Smyrna.

After an approval by its city council, Sandy Springs will relocate its prison inmates from Pickens County to Smyrna.

Sandy Springs will soon be moving its prison inmates.

After a unanimous vote by the City Council on Tuesday, the city has approved an intergovernmental deal with the city of Smyrna to house Sandy Springs’ inmates.

The initial deal is effective Aug. 1 and runs through June 30, 2019. The inmates will be moved between now and then.

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Sandy Springs police spokesman Sam Worsham said that the number of inmates the city has varies, but they average about 22 per day. These are inmates who have been sentenced by the city’s municipal court. Any person sentenced by a Fulton County state or superior court is held in a Fulton County jail.

The city previously had a deal with Pickens County to house inmates and transport prisoners there. But in May, the jail administrator for the county notified Sandy Springs that it was facing a “severe staffing shortage” and could no longer provide transportation for prisoners, effective July 15, according to a memo to the council from Sandy Springs Police Chief Ken DeSimone.

Pickens County offered to still house the prisoners, but the jail is more than 50 miles away from Sandy Springs. The Sandy Springs Police Department began exploring options and decided that moving its inmates to a different prison would be a more cost-effective option.

Since the city’s inception in 2006, Sandy Springs has never had its own jail. Before Pickens County, it had a deal with the city of Pelham in Mitchell County in far southeast Georgia to house inmates. Pelham is about four hours from Sandy Springs.

Smyrna offered its jail facilities and services to Sandy Springs at the cost of $50 per prisoner, per day. This rate, DeSimone said, covers maintenance, housing, delivery of prisoners and transporting them to court. Smyrna will provide all transportation for Sandy Springs inmates, including to medical facilities.

Not approving the deal, DeSimone said, would have left Sandy Springs police with “serious issues for transporting prisoners.”

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