Sheriff, Solicitor plead for Moss Justice Center expansion

Posted January 8, 2013 8:44 pm | Filed under Local News

York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant and 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett made passionate pleas Tuesday for immediate expansions of the Moss Justice Center. Both leaders say the facility, which opened its doors in 1994, is bursting at the seams.

Brackett said the lack of space is, “definitely” a public safety risk.

The two spoke at a York County Council budget workshop where county staff outlined current and future capital projects under consideration.

Brackett said absent any new construction on the courtroom side of the facility, the jail population will spike. Brackett says in the last decade, his caseload has grown by 50 percent — and processing those cases now takes even longer.

Bryant, now in his fifth term as Sheriff, says there are also significant security risks in other public parts of the Moss Justice Center. Currently there are multiple points of entry to the facility for different departments. Following a courtroom shooting in Atlanta, Ga., new procedures are in place to separate witnesses, jurors and family members in heated court cases.

Brackett says while all other factors change, the only thing that has remained constant over the years is the amount of courtroom time available.

Brackett said that his staff has been creative in scheduling specialty court in off-peak hours, but that has had little effect in alleviating space concerns.

York County Manager Jim Baker suggested Tuesday one option may be for the county to build higher-capacity offices and lease the space to outside, like-minded tenants until it is time for those departments to move into the expanded facilities.