Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

With crime down, Hillsborough's Orient Road Jail is almost emptied

TAMPA — On Friday, the Sheriff's Office essentially shuttered Hillsborough County's oldest standing jail.

All inmates, except those just booked, are now held at the Falkenburg Road Jail.

The 20-year-old Orient Road Jail is occupied only by the intake center, the jails' kitchen and the offices of several officials.

Pods once bustling with 72 inmates and filled with the sound of card games and daytime television are now silent. The air is stagnant and the lights are dark. The space simply isn't needed, said Col. Jim Previtera, who's in charge of the county's jails. Five years ago, the county had about 4,500 inmates. Now it has about 3,000, the capacity of the larger Falkenburg jail.

"Crime is down in the county," he said. "Three years ago, we had about 70,000 bookings. Last year, we had 56,000."

Consolidating the inmates to one jail will save on utilities and deputy resources, Previtera said. The Sheriff's Office estimates it will save $25,000 to $50,000 a month on bills and overtime. No staff cuts are expected due to the consolidation.

For May, the electric bill is down about $17,000 across both jails, records show.

The shift to Falkenburg started a year ago, when jail officials shut Orient's north wing. In the past eight weeks, they moved the remaining 500 inmates from the south wing.

One by one, they transported the 28 high-profile inmates under high security. They're still confined and closely watched. Inmates' living conditions, access to medical care and recreation haven't changed, Previtera said.

The Orient Road Jail, which has about 1,700 beds, opened in 1990 to ease Hillsborough's prisoner overcrowding.

Though it's not currently needed, sheriff's officials don't plan to lease the space or sell the building. The expect they'll need the space in the future and are poised to reopen sections during the Republican National Convention in August 2012.

"We'll probably see mass arrests of protesters," Previtera said. "That's almost a given."

Instead, jail officials are using this time to make about $870,000 in repairs, much of it to the air-conditioning system and plumbing.

About $370,000 has already been budgeted for repairs that have begun.

Previtera estimates $500,000 more will be needed to replace the air handlers. The Sheriff's Office plans to redirect sales tax money that was planned for projects at Falkenburg over the next two years to Orient Road.

With crime down, Hillsborough's Orient Road Jail is almost emptied 06/17/11 [Last modified: Friday, June 17, 2011 9:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. World's plastic waste could bury Manhattan 2 miles deep

    Environment

    WASHINGTON — Industry has made more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and there's enough left over to bury Manhattan under more than 2 miles of trash, according to a new cradle-to-grave global study.

    Plastic trash is compacted into bales ready for further processing at the waste processing dump on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus.
  2. Sen. John McCain's type of cancer did not slow Tampa woman

    Health

    TAMPA —When 35-year-old Beth Caldwell heard about Sen. John McCain's brain tumor this week, she hoped he would stay positive.

    That's what helped her, she said.

    Beth Caldwell, 35, and her sons Gavin, 10, and Triston, 7. Caldwell had surgery to remove an aggressive brain tumor three years ago. [Photo Courtesy of Beth Caldwell]
  3. A week later, the lengthy, costly rebuilding plan for the Pasco sinkhole begins

    Public Safety

    LAND O'LAKES — A week after a massive sinkhole opened in Pasco County, county officials have begun planning the long-term cleanup, which could take months and millions of dollars.

    A sinkhole in Land O'Lakes, Fla., is seen Wednesday, July 19, 2017. The sinkhole ?‘ already one of the largest in Pasco County in decades ?‘ measures about 235 feet in width and 50 feet in depth, with the potential to expand further.
  4. Dade City's Wild Things blocks PETA officials at gates for court-ordered site inspection

    Wildlife

    Times Staff Writer

    DADE CITY — Dade City's Wild Things founder Kathy Stearns refused to let People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals officials enter her facility on Thursday for a court-ordered inspection, court filings show.

    Dade City's Wild Things founder Kathy Stearns refused to let People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals officials enter her facility on Thursday for a court-ordered inspection, court filings show. This comes four days after 19 Wild Things tigers arrived at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma. A judge had granted an emergency injunction July 14, ordering Stearns not remove any tigers pending the upcoming PETA inspection. Photo from Facebook page of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma.
  5. St. Petersburg City Council approves $326 million sewage fix

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Last week the City Council learned no criminal charges would result from the up to 200 million gallons of sewage St. Petersburg's sewer system released from …

    [LARA CERRI  |  Times]