The county has been studying the feasibility of a new detention center for several years. The Orange County jail was originally built in 1925 to house 34 inmates and has been expanded several times since to its current capacity of 129. The last expansion occurred in the mid-1990s. The number of beds will increase slightly with the new facility, which will also offer potential for additional expansion should future needs dictate.
The current jail needs significant upkeep each year to meet minimum standards as established by the NC. Department of Health and Human Services. The current facility has several inadequacies that must be addressed, including an aging cell locking mechanism that is expensive to repair and will need to be replaced, insufficient kitchen, medical and laundry facilities and an inadequate suicide watch cell, especially for female inmates.