The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office will tear down and rebuild half of the county jail, officials told the Tuscaloosa city council Tuesday.

In a presentation to the council's Public Safety Committee, TCSO Captain Lloyd Baker said half of the county jail -- the Metro half, which houses 200 women and misdemeanor offenders -- needs to be demolished later this year and rebuilt.

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Baker said the county plans to lease vacant city-owned property near the existing jail and set up a temporary jail there until the rebuild is complete -- a process that could take two years or more.

Baker said TCSO is partnering with a company in Missouri to bring modular jail "pods" to Tuscaloosa to set up on that city property on T.Y. Rogers Avenue and 16th Street, across the street from the existing jail facility.

"They're basically 18-wheeler trailers, expandable, that are stainless steel on the inside with lockable doors and they actually fit together to form an entire unit," Baker said. "There will be seven trailers in all, with 36 inmates per trailer."

Baker said the temporary jail will be totally secure, with staff there around the clock, locked doors, cameras and alarms, tall fences and razor wire and more.

Baker said the county will also have to install a temporary storm shelter on the site since the jail trailers will not be safe in the case of a tornado event.

Baker said the county has already purchased the seven jail pods and they will be delivered within the next two months. He told the council they could expect prisoners to be moved into the temporary jail by the first of 2023.

The committee unanimously recommended allowing the county to use the city property to support the temporary facility. The measure will appear before the full council for final approval at a later date.

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