County Officials Explain Need for New Jail
OnFocus recently had the opportunity to take a tour of the current Wood County Jail. Discussions are underway for a new jail in the County, with a vote scheduled to take place on June 15. Read the full story on the proposed new jail here.
The current correctional facility has not seen extensive updates in decades, resulting in significant gaps in storage needs, technology possibilities, and programming space. Built in the 1950’s and expanded in the 1980’s, there are several safety, efficiency, and maintenance issues with the current facility.
Discussion for a new jail facility started in the late 1990’s, and in 2001, a jail study was completed. At the time, a new facility would have cost $20 million, but the vote failed and funding was not provided.
Of the current jail challenges, most costly is the need to house inmates at other correctional institutions due to limited space. Currently, Wood County spends approximately $1.3 million every year to house 90 inmates in other jail facilities. These are contracted costs averaging $35/36 per day per inmate, and a cost that will continue to increase exponentially. The new jail project would add 87 beds, bringing the jail’s capacity to 225 with potential for up to 300 if bunks are doubled.
Any upgrades to the current facility would need to meet new Department of Corrections standards, which are much different from those in the 1950’s. Expanded space and options for rehabilitation programs would be necessary with any remodel and critical to a new facility.
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