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Updated: 11/20/2013 01:04:02PM

Sheriff explains jail shuttering

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Tom Knight


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NORTH PORT — It’s shutting down on Jan. 2, 2014, anyway, so it was more of a courtesy than anything else that Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight stopped by the North Port City Commission meeting Tuesday to explain his thought process behind the decision to shutter the “South County Jail,” which he said will save the county roughly $1 million a year.

Knight told commissioners he had been thinking of the move for roughly two years, but it wasn’t just money or budgetary concerns that was driving his decision. Instead, with only 12 full-time jail staff members at the South County Holding Facility, and no medical support staff on hand, Knight said it made sense to close the Venice facility. Knight also cited a suicide that took place at the jail in 2006 after a woman was not screened properly for any medical conditions.

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