Proposed Project to Increase Jail Capacity?

THE TOMPKINS COUNTY LEGISLATURE’S PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE TODAY INDICATED ITS SUPPORT FOR A PROPOSED CAPITAL PROJECT TO MODIFY THE COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING TO INCREASE JAIL CAPACITY—A PROJECT THAT COULD BE EXPECTED TO DECREASE THE COUNTY’S INMATE BOARD-OUT COSTS.

THE RECOMMENDED PROJECT WOULD CONSTRUCT A SECURE COVERED OUTDOOR YEAR-ROUND RECREATION AREA AT THE JAIL, THEN WOULD RENOVATE A LITTLE-USED EXISTING INTERIOR RECREATION SPACE AS DORMITORY HOUSING TO PROVIDE SEVEN ADDITIONAL JAIL BEDS. A LATER OPTIONAL PHASE OF THE PROJECT COULD ADD SEVEN MORE BEDS BY CONVERTING THE EXISTING LIBRARY INTO DORMITORY SPACE. THE $900,000 PRELIMINARY COST ESTIMATE WOULD INCLUDE CONSTRUCTION OF THE OUTDOOR RECREATION AREA AND THE INITIAL SEVEN-BED DORMITORY SPACE.

WITH A MAXIMUM JAIL CAPACITY OF 75 INMATES, AND A TEMPORARY VARIANCE THAT ALLOWS A MAXIMUM OF 95 INMATES, THE COUNTY, OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS, HAS HAD TO BOARD-OUT TO OTHER COUNTIES’ JAILS AN AVERAGE OF JUST OVER 6 INMATES PER DAY, A RATE THAT ROSE TO MORE THAN 8 PER DAY OVER THE PAST YEAR. AT A CURRENT COST OF $80 PER INMATE PER DAY, THE COUNTY IN 2012 SPENT $244,000 TO BOARD INMATES AT OTHER JAILS, NOT INCLUDING THE ASSOCIATED TRANSPORT COST. COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR JOE (MAR-EE-‘A-NEE) MAREANE TOLD THE COMMITTEE HE BELIEVES THAT A STRONG BUSINESS CASE EXISTS FOR THE RENOVATION PROJECT. THE PROPOSAL WILL NEXT BE CONSIDERED BY THE LEGISLATURE’S BUDGET AND CAPITAL COMMITTEE BEFORE ADVANCING TO THE FULL LEGISLATURE.

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