The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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April 30, 2013

County officials to study jail's future needs

CLINTON — Aware of the current jail's inadequacies, Clinton County officials hope a needs assessment study will shed light on what they need to have a suitable county correctional facility.

The Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission on Friday issued a request for proposal for a jail needs assessment and consulting services.

"This is a big piece in the jail planning process. It's a very long process. So, this will get the ball rolling," Justice Coordinating Commission Coordinator Brian McKenrick said. "We're looking to hire a consultant to come in, advise us based on our jail population, how we've stabilized it over the past several years. Now we can project out what our jail bed needs will be over the next 20, 25 years."

The current jail, which was built in 1969, has 44 beds, including a six bed work release area. There are an additional 10 beds available as temporary housing for less than 24 hours.

In 2012, the jail had 1,865 bookings with an average daily population of 38.63, the lowest it has been in nearly a decade.

Clinton County Sheriff Rick Lincoln said the jail's declining population is the result of a concerted effort on the part of people involved in the county's justice system.

"We have wrung the efficiencies out of the system," Lincoln said. "In other words, everyone who is in jail, needs to be in jail."

Even with the lower population, the jail structure does not meet the county's standards. A 2008 study by the National Institute of Corrections identified a number of deficiencies with the structure itself, regardless of population.

"We know the jail is inadequate," Lincoln said. "I want some good projections so we can have a conversation with our citizens to tell them what we need and why."

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