MONCKS CORNER — As Berkeley County’s population has soared the past several years, one thing that has not kept pace with the burgeoning growth is the county jail.
Despite an addition in 2010 that doubled its space, the county has one of the lowest numbers of jail beds per capita in the state, 1.38 per 1,000 residents, according to the county’s Sheriff’s Office.
Many other counties have expanded or built new facilities to handle additional detainees. Dorchester County opened a new facility last year that more than doubled the number of inmates it could house to 350. Richland County last expanded a decade ago to a capacity of 1,120.
But like Berkeley, both remain under the state’s average of 2.81 beds per 1,000 people in the 41 counties that have jails. Dorchester has 2.35 and Richland, 2.73.
On the other side, Horry County, which expanded to 1,000 beds in a project completed in 2011, has 3.1 beds per 1,000 residents, while Charleston County’s 2010 expansion brought its ratio to 4.83.
“We were overcrowded for years,” said Charleston County Assistant Sheriff Mitch