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Overcrowding in correctional facilities operated by the Georgia Department of Corrections is no secret, but this week the Georgia legislature approved over $436 million for the construction of a mega prison in Davisboro in Washington County. Construction of the new facility began a few months ago near where the currently Washington State Prison is and on land already owned by the State of Georgia.

Described as a state-of-the art facility, the new prison will support services for up to 3,000 inmates including housing, administration, educational opportunities for inmates, medical care and more.

Funding for the facility is part of the amended Fiscal Year 2024 State Budget under House Bill 915.

The project is said to be designed with both the inmate and Correctional Officers safety in mind. Features include pre-cast cells, and rear pipe chases to prevent introduction of contraband and weapons into the facility, according to the proposed bill.

In addition to the new prison, HB 915 also includes funding for the Georgia Department of Corrections for additional safety, security, technology upgrades and maintenance and repairs to existing correctional facilities.

Because of its capacity to house so many inmates, there will be other prisons in the state that are expected to close with the inmates from those prisons transferred to Washington County. However, which prisons that will include has not been publicly divulged. In February 2022, Georgia State Prison in Reidsville closed. It was built in 1938 and was the oldest operating prison in the state at that time.

Currently, the Georgia Department of Corrections operates 34 state prisons with a population of approximately 47,000 male and female inmates statewide.

Washington County and Davisboro are located within the Middle Judicial Circuit of Georgia along with Toombs, Emanuel, Candler, and Jefferson counties.

With the approval of both the Georgia House of Representatives and the State Senate, House Bill 519 now goes to Gov. Brian Kemp for his final approval and signature.

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