The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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May 8, 2013

County officials head down path of creating more jail space

CLINTON — Clinton County Jail Administrator Craig Eberhart says the biggest problem the jail faces is space.

The current office in the jail sees multiple tasks going on at once: The room used for video conferences in courtrooms houses the medical facility. Just a few feet from the wall where mugshots are taken, sits the employee break table. On weekends, county judges use that table for court.

Clinton County Sheriff Rick Lincoln told the Clinton County Board of Supervisors on Monday that since the National Institute of Corrections' visit to the jail in 2008, the facility has been collecting data on the average length of stay and other facts. He added county officials will have a wealth of information for the upcoming request for proposal for a new facility.

The request for proposal will feature criteria on what is needed for the facility, including a space-needs assessment. Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission Coordinator Brian McKenrick told the board that typically it is best to have at least five years of data collected, which the jail has on hand.

The RFP for the project was issued April 26, with a deadline for submission of questions set for May 17. Responses will be due at 4 p.m. May 31, according to a timeline McKenrick presented at the meeting. The short-listed firms will be selected and notified on June 28, with interviews on July 17. Contract negotiation with the top-ranked firm is expected to run between July 25 and July 31, with the contract being awarded on Aug. 5.

Supervisor Jill Davisson asked when they could expect the new jail to be built, assuming the process started right away. McKenrick felt it would take three to four years.

The RFP for the jail will also include a space-needs assessment for Communications. McKenrick and Communications Director Eric Dau agreed it was decided to lump the two projects together so the county would only have to pay for one set of consultants.

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