Jefferson County Metropolitan Jail

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A Jefferson County Metropolitan Jail is a proposed consolidation of several jails operated by Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and various municipalities in Jefferson County for reasons of efficiency.

The idea was advanced in the mid 1990s to the point that a potential site near Turkey Creek in Pinson was announced. The prospect was a major impetus for the formation of the "Society To Advance the Resources at Turkey Creek" (START), which eventually resulted in the protection of the area by the Freshwater Land Trust as the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve.

The proposal was advanced by the passage of Act of Alabama 2006-185 (text), sponsored in the Alabama State Senate by Jabo Waggoner Jr (R-District 16) and Steve French (R-District 15), and signed into law by Governor Bob Riley on 7, 2006. The law made provisions for the establishment of a "Regional Jail Authority" with the agreement of two or more mayors. Such an authority would be governed by its own appointed board of directors, and would be enabled to enter into contracts, hold property, and to issue bonds in order to construct and maintain a shared jail facility.

The Association of County Commissions of Alabama has drafted a model agreement for the consolidation of county jails with municipal jails which was used by Decatur and Morgan County in 2013.

In 2020, at the request of the Jefferson County Mayors Association and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama prepared a "Survey and Findings" describing the context for a proposed cooperative metropolitan jail in Jefferson County and outlining various considerations to be weighed over the short term and long term.

For his second term, beginning in 2022, Sheriff Mark Pettway made development of a metropolitan jail one of his priorities.

In May 2023 the Sheriff's Office was awarded an $80,000 "Driving Regional Cooperation" grant from the Community Foundation to support architectural and design work for a new metro jail.


  • Spencer, Thomas (January 5, 2021) "Jefferson County Mayors Study Municipal Cooperation on Jails." Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama
  • Jackson, Lauren (November 9, 2022) "Jefferson County Sheriff working on regional jail during second term."
  • Chasity, Maxie (December 7, 2022) "PARCA says a consolidated jail in Jefferson County could save you money."