EASTMAN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – For a little more than a mile, the Dodge County NAACP and concerned citizens walked through downtown Eastman in silence; letting their signs and strides speak about the concerns surrounding the county's jail.
"We're trying to bring justice to Eastman," said Dodge County NAACP's President John Battle.
This is the second time week the group has rallied outside of the Dodge County Courthouse and Battle plans to stand his ground. He's calling for commissioners to move forward with opening the new jail, stating that the old jail's conditions are "unfit".
"There are people who are in jail sleeping on mattresses on the floor, it's costing the taxpayers money," Battle said.
The multimillion dollar building has been empty for almost two years now and was set to up and running by April 2013, but it hasn't opened. In February, 41NBC talked to Dodge County Sheriff Lynn Sheffield, who cited construction problems as a cause for delays.
"It's costing taxpayers money to house inmates at other institutions," Sheffield said.
Since the facility was finished, it cost the county almost $6,000 in utility bills alone.
"This is bad management," Battle said, "and they are elected to manage the money to best benefit the citizens who are paying them."
The jail isn't the NAACP's only concern in Dodge County. Battle said they are worried about the county's overall use of SPLOST funds and the confederate flag handing outside of the courthouse.
41NBC put calls into the sheriff and the commissioners but haven't heard back. Dodge County Commissioner Karen Cheek returned a call but declined to comment.