District officials yesterday began housing inmates in a renovated basement cell block of a Superior Court building that they hope will temporarily relieve some of the pressures of overcrowding in their corrections system.
The cell block, which basically consists of four large rooms, a set of showers and a row of toilets, will house only weekend prisoners, although city officials hope they may eventually be able to use it on weekdays as well.
Double bunks were set up yesterday for 64 prisoners, some of whom will sleep as close as a foot and a half from each other.
Lt. Luther Cary, a corrections supervisor, said officers will set up tables in a small area outside the sleeping rooms to feed the inmates. Solitary confinement cells were being used yesterday as closets for sheets and blankets.
Public Works Department employes labored furiously to renovate the cell block, replacing the air conditioning, installing plumbing and cutting away the benches that were left over from the cell block's days as a holding area for inmates on the way to court.
Superior Court Judge Fred B. Ugast said judges who toured the cell block yesterday afternoon found that "it was acceptable. They met all the requirements."