Relieving overcrowding at the Potter County Detention Center isn't an easy fix

The Potter County Detention Center was built in 1995.

The Potter County Sheriff's Office, along with the Potter County Commissioners are looking for the best option to relieve the overcrowding at the detention center.

A new building would cost about $20 million.

There are a total of 603 beds and according to Sheriff Brian Thomas with the sheriff's office, there is no way to predict how full they will be.

"I can take you back on the 15th [of December]. We had 581 people in jail, which is at 85 percentâ?¦ most people say 85 percent is full," Thomas said.

Ankle monitors, and lower bonds have been proposed as alternatives to a new facility.

"There are some of those folks that would be better off getting out of there so they can continue to work and pay their fines. You can't pay fines while you're in jail," said H.R Kelly, Potter County commissioner.

According to Sheriff Thomas, it isn't as easy as lowering the bond or finding ways to let people back into the community.

He said they can offer a fine and community service, but if the offender does not cooperate, they will end up in jail.

"That business doesn't have any way of holding you there. It falls back on you. So now, we've just â?¦tried to set up community serviceâ?¦you decided you don't want to do that, so you leave," Thomas said.

Lowering bonds can also have its problems.

"We had this issue in the past where we set a bond at this amount because of the offense. And then they turn right around and they go back out and do the same offense," Thomas said.

Both commissioners and the sheriff's office said there are many factors to be considered before moving forward with a plan.