FARMINGTON — After years of boarding its prisoners out to other counties, the Franklin County Detention Center is now licensed to take back its inmates as a fully operating jail.

The jail was closed five years ago under a 2008 state law that consolidated the state’s jails under central leadership and reduced the Franklin County jail to a 72-hour holding facility. Since then, the jail has paid to have its inmates who needed to be held longer boarded out in other county jails.

On Friday, the jail was reissued its license by the Department of Corrections to begin fully operating and take back its 22 inmates held in Somerset County and elsewhere. The inmates include those who are being held pre-trial, pre-arraignment or have been sentenced.

Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols said the jail was renovated earlier this year to increase its capacity from 29 inmates to 39 inmates and hopes to not only take its prisoners back but to eventually board prisoners from elsewhere to help alleviate system overcrowding that has led to dangerous overcrowding in other counties.

“By us bringing our prisoners back, that allows Somerset to bring more prisoners in and then additionally on top of that, we can assist other agencies by bringing in prisoners,” Nichols said Monday.

Nichols said some of the inmates have already been returned to the jail and the others will be brought back in phases through the week.


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