CLINTON — A needs assessment study on the Clinton County Jail and communications department is bringing forth more questions on how the city and county will proceed.
Former Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission Coordinator Brian McKenrick and Shive Hattery Architecture & Engineering Representative Michael Morman said Monday morning that the stakeholders in the study need to digest the information before moving forward with a series of forums and public meetings. Since last week, Morman has presented his findings to the entities involved in the study. Most recently, he visited the Clinton County Board of Supervisors on Monday.
“Going into this process, we wanted to look into all the options and weight them,” McKenrick said.
Morman explained the current jail has lived a good, long life, but is beginning to show wear. Much of the infrastructure, such as the pipes, need to be improved. As it stands, Morman said the jail facility cannot be easily modified.
Member of the public Paul Ketelsen stated the report seemed to make the assumption that the current jail will eventually be shut down. Morman and McKenrick agreed with this.
“I don’t think it’s a question of if, it’s a question of when,” McKenrick said.
The needs assessment report proposes the construction of a 96-bed jail facility for approximately $18.9 million. However, Morman said this cost would ultimately be cheaper than having to send prisoners to other counties due to insufficient bed space. McKenrick added that when the county sends offenders to another jurisdiction, like Cedar County, money that could go for local wages goes to the other county instead.
“It’s like as a renter, you spend money but you’re not building any equity,” McKenrick said.
The report also highlights a proposal for a $1.4 million Communications facility. However, Morman recommends that this center be included in the $18.9 million jail facility.
Samantha Pidde can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.