Monday, November 05, 2001

New jail is planned to be bigger and better


Boone Co. inmate capacity to triple - staffing won't

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BURLINGTON — The Boone County jail to be built along Idlewild Road near the Boone County Fairgrounds will have three times the inmate capacity of the current facility, but is not expected to require additional staffing.

        Jailer John Schickel said the new building will be “the most staff-efficient jail in the state. It should not require any more staffing than we now have, and it's possible it might even need less staffing.”

        Mr. Schickel said the jail, which is expected to have 376 beds when it opens in 2003, will cost about $10 million. It's part of a safety service complex planned for about 60 acres northwest of Burlington and will replace the current jail, which is part of the county administration building.

        “The new jail will have one control room, because everything will be on one floor,” Mr. Schickel said. “At the current jail, we have two control rooms with prisoners on three floors. It's much less efficient.”
       

More breathing room
               The current jail, which has 112 beds and houses as many as 140 prisoners, requires five people working eight-hour shifts.

        In addition to a new jail, the safety service complex will be home to the Boone County Sheriff's offices and a fire training center for all fire departments in the county.

        Boone County administrator Jim Parsons said moving the jail and the sheriff's offices out of the three-story administration building — along with the construction of a new facility across Ky. 18 to house district and circuit courts and the court clerk's office — will return the administration building to its original purpose.

        “This was built as an administration building, intended for offices of the fiscal court and other county agencies,” Mr. Parsons said. “The county clerk needs a lot more room, and moving the jail and the sheriff to a new facility will give us all more space here.”
       

More beds added
               Mr. Schickel said initial plans for the new jail called for 350 to 360 beds.

        “But we met Friday with the architect and looked at new blueprints,” he said. “They said we can build for 376 beds without spending any more money.”

        JKS Architects and Engineers of Hopkinsville is handling plans for the new jail.

        “Staffing is 90 percent of your cost in jail operation,” said Mr. Schickel.

        “Capital construction seems big at the time, but personnel expenses are the major burden to the taxpayers over the long haul.”

        “For 13 of the 14 years I've been the (Boone County) jailer, we have been self-sufficient, not asking the county for any additional operation funds,” Mr. Schickel said.

        “I think we can do the same thing with the new jail.

        “We will be able to rent out beds for state and federal prisoners and use the money to keep down costs.”
       

Detention camp stays
               The county also has a minimum-security detention camp on Bullittsville Road, about a mile north of the current jail.

        Built for $600,000, mostly from federal funding, the camp houses work-release and other nonviolent prisoners. “It is possible that in a few years we may want to have the camp on the same site as the main jail to make the operation even more efficient,” Mr. Schickel said.

       



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