Accusers say inmates at the Colquitt County Jail are sleeping on the floors.

The accuracy of that complaint is open to interpretation, Colquitt County Sheriff Al Whittington said recently. Every inmate has a mattress to sleep on, but some of those mattresses are indeed on the floor. Inmates may also be able to use a floater bed, depending on which pod they are housed in, Whittington said, but no inmate has had to sleep only on the floor.

That said, the sheriff agrees there’s a problem with overcrowding at the county jail.

The jail is a 210-bed facility, Whittington said, but it typically holds more inmates. On a recent day, the population was 227 inmates, and it typically houses between 220 and 240 inmates.

The jail houses inmates from Colquitt County and surrounding agencies, such as the Moultrie Police Department, Norman Park Police Department and Doerun Police Department.

The jail does not house any federal inmates.

Whittington believes the jail will need to be expanded in the next several years, and an upcoming special purpose local option sales tax may be the opportunity to finance it.

A meeting is scheduled for today to get the ball rolling on a new SPLOST. A new pod for the jail is one project that’s been suggested as part of the tax’s five- to 10-year plan.

“In the next 10 years,” Whittington said, “we are going to need the additional space.”

If local communities reach agreement on the projects the tax will fund, a referendum on it will go before voters this year, even though it wouldn’t take effect until the existing SPLOST expires in March 2013.

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