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April 25-- The company that wanted to build a privately owned and operated jail in Montgomery County is facing bankruptcy.

Municipal Corrections LLC headed by Atanta businessman Terry O'Brien has been operating the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla since 2007 and has been in discussions with the Montgomery County Commission to do the same thing in Mount Vernon.

The economic downturn in 2008 put a hold on the plans for Montgomery County which has no jail and pays over $400,000 a year to house its prisoners in the Irwin County facility as well as other county jails.

"It was too good to be turn.  It would have been great and we'd be sitting pretty today if it had worked out," says Montgomery County Commission Chairman Franklin Brantley.

Now the question is, what's next?

"I guess our next step is to look elsewhere where we can farm out our prisoners for right now.  The cost we're paying to house prisoners now is signficant and we could build a 40-bed facility for what we're paying to house prisoners, but it's the operating cost to run a jail down the road that we have to look at.  I really don't know where we're going at this time.  We just have to sit down and see what we can afford, that's the toughest challenge," the chairman says.

Meanwhile, in Irwin County, the private jail is operating at about half capacity and officials are afraid it might close and take with it 200 jobs.