Glynn County Jail Expansion

The Facts about the Glynn County jail debate

I have created this website to help clarify and dispel some of the inaccuracies and the misinformation involving the issue of where the Glynn County Detention Center (“GCDC”) should be located. The issue, which has been the source of significant controversy for the past three years, is whether the GCDC should be expanded in downtown Brunswick or should it be moved to a remote location in the county.

During this time, it has become very difficult to separate fact from fiction, so I have attempted to supply you with the pertinent documents along with a quick “bullet” format which identifies the notable substance in each document. I hope that you will have the time to look at this site in detail and I trust that it will be of some benefit to you.

As you may already know, my most recent judicial appeal was to Judge Rose to re-consider what, I believe, was a seriously flawed decision that resulted in Glynn County condemning two pieces of property that I own in downtown Brunswick. Unfortunately, despite a concerted effort by our state General Assembly to restrict the indiscriminate use of eminent domain, the courts continue to allow governmental authorities to take private property at any time for any purpose. I believe that is wrong and I believe that our founding fathers would be appalled at this governmental abuse.

I have decided that I have made my contribution to the preservation of the city of Brunswick and its sovereign right to determine its own future. I do not intend to take any additional legal steps to fight the overreach of the Glynn County government.

During the course of my fight against the abuse of eminent domain, a lawsuit was filed in federal District Court which is styled Browning v. Glynn County et al. This case arose from the violation of an individual’s civil rights, amongst other claims contained in the original complaint. Catherine Browning was attempting to exercise her First Amendment rights of redress at a regular meeting of the Glynn County Board of Commissioners (“BOC”) when she was brutally arrested and jailed in the GCDC. Further, her complaint alleges various other allegations of governmental abuse and misconduct, not the least of which is the egregious misuse of SPLOST funds.

I have decided that it is time to pass the baton to Mrs. Browning and her capable lawyers, Mary Helen Moses and Doug Alexander. I intend to support them in their quest to assure that we have good governance in Glynn County in the future. They understand the importance of having the City of Brunswick prosper and they understand, as do most of the citizens of Glynn County, that it will benefit all of the citizens of Glynn County if the City of Brunswick grows and prospers. Clearly an expanding jail in the densely populated central business district will stop that progress.

Thank you for your interest in the future of the City of Brunswick and Glynn County. Please continue your support of the federal lawsuit, including the support of Mary Helen Moses and Doug Alexander.

Bob Torras, Sr.

Director

Defend Downtown Brunswick

Table of Contents

Click each blue underlined subject below to be taken to that page.

8/14/06
Jail needs assessment by Carter, Goble, and Lee– This study recommends constructing a detention annex (center) at a new site with sufficient areage and a master plan to support all future detention center expansions and the eventual replacement of the existing detention center.
60 pages

12/20/06

Recommendation not to use prison labor by Carter, Goble, and Lee – A letter recommending not to use prison labor for construction of prisons. (Note: The county cost estimates for the jail built downtown are based on the use of free prison labor to build the jail.)
2 pages
1/5/07
Final Report by Carter, Goble, and Lee – A study of the Glynn County criminal justice system with recommendations to:  reduce the need for beds using alternatives to detention, reduce length of sentences, reduce cost of bail and decrease of time before trial.  The design and cost of a 258 bed detention facility at the Public Works Site with provisions for expansion to 1000 beds and a maximum security facility. The design and cost of a Diversion and Treatment Center for helping prisoners re-entry into society. This facility to be separate from the Detention Center.
78 pages
5/18/07
Memo from County staff (Bruner, Corbett, Newsom, and Stewart)– Award of architectural and engineering contract for $622,000 to IPG of Valdosta, Georgia for the design of a detention center expansion in the “I” to “J” block to be funded by SPLOST V.
2 pages
12/31/08
The Truth about the Jail – A breakdown refuting the inaccuracies published and distributed by the Glynn County Commissioners
23 pages
12/31/09
Amicus Curiae Brief by the City of Brunswick – Expresses the City’s opposition to the ‘expansion of the jail in downtown Brunswick and objection to the county condemning property in the City for the purpose of a jail.’
12 pages
2/26/10
City owned alleys – The County can not expand the detention facilities into the ‘I’ to ‘J’ Street block because it contains 5 alleys that belong to the City and the City will give neither ‘I’ Street nor the 5 alleys to the County.
1 page
3/26/10
Appeal for reversal – Brunswick Landing, LLC, the owner of the two condemned houses in the “I” to “J” block, appealed to the original Superior Court judge requesting him to reverse his decisions because of new evidence.
1 page
9/18/09
Advisory report from IPG – A report was sent from IPG advising to the County Administrator that the jail should not be built downtown. Mr. Charlie Stewart, the county administrator, gave the letter to Mr. Clark, Thaw, Lynn, and Hogan but not to the other three dissenting commissioners and not to the public. The letter gives reasons why the jail should not be built downtown as well as multiple options downtown and out from downtown. Gives sketches and costs on each option.
17 pages
3/1/10
IPG report mailed to commissioners– IPG sent a copy on 9/18/09 to all commissioners. At the initial Federal Court hearing on 3/2/10, County Administrator Charlie Stewart testified under oath that he only gave the 9/18/09 report to the commission chairman and not to commissioners Sublett, Coleman, or Callaway and not to the public. (Click here to read the original 9/18/09 IPG report that was not disclosed to Commissioners Sublett, Coleman, Callaway, or to the public.)
2 pages
3/2/10
Federal Court Hearing – Violation of Catherine Browning’s civil rights and violation of SPLOST laws. Defendants Thaw, Hogan, Clark, and Lynn were to have been present at the hearing but did not appear. The Judge asked for a 7 day agreement not to act on the jail, but the County’s lawyers said they did no have the authority to agree. The Judge said that the defendants would be there in the future and required that the defendants respond to the Judge’s request by noon of the next day. The defendants agreed to the 7 days. The County’s lawyers said that the matter should not be in Federal Court. The judge said that she was not going to dismiss it. County Administrator Charlie Stewart did not give a reason why he withheld the 9/18/09 IPG report from the entire commission.
1 page
4/16/10
Blue Ribbon Committee– Federal Court convenes Blue Ribbon Committee (Special Masters) to consider and recommend action of the jail location and issue its report on 5/14/10.
1 page
5/3/10
Proposal to locate jail at the Public Safety site (currently the County Police Station) – A writeup on why the jail should be moved to the Public Safety site.
8 page
5/13/10
Jail report delayed until June – The court-appointed blue ribbon panel given the tall order of recommending a resolution to end the bitter dispute over where to expand the Glynn County Detention Center has requested and been granted until June 11th to complete its work.
1 page
Suggestion of possible alternative jail sites – 6 properties already owned by Glynn County plus the Allied Signal/LCP/Honeywell site.
1 page
Voices of the Community – Letters to the Editor from The Brunswick News submitted by residents and followers regarding the jail expansion.
3 pages