Counties Conducting Jail Study | VideoJennifer Joas | 7/9/2012
Jail space is maxed out in Burleigh and Morton Counties, and sending inmates elsewhere is costing $65 a day per inmate. That`s why both correction centers are looking for another option.
"I think it is a long time coming. I think both counties, both commissions, both sheriff`s for a number of years knew it would get to a point where we have to do something with the jail space," said Morton County Sheriff Dave Shipman.
The Burleigh County Detention Center budgeted $38,500 a year to house inmates. It already spent that and might spend an additional $30,000 just in the month of July.
The sheriff says he believes the study will suggest a joint facility, but it is ultimately up to commissioners.
"If we are willing to, and if our commissioners are willing, to travel extra time officers off the street and those type of things that it takes to move prisoners around and also for core purposes. Those are the issues that a consultant is not going to be able to answer. We have to answer those locally to see which is the best for us, and which is the best for our community," said Burleigh County Sheriff Pat Heinert.
Burleigh County can only book two inmates at a time, and it takes about an hour per inmate. The sheriff is hoping a new facility will cut down on that time.
"We are asking for a design that will be like a one stop shop for all law enforcement so they can bring them to the jail facility and release them in about 15-20 minutes to the jail structure."
Both counties have a lot of needs, but regardless of the study outcome, neither county has the money for an expansion or new facility. So they will have to finance a project and expect it to take 3-5 years to complete.
Both counties send inmates to the Bismarck Transitional Center, McLean and Mercer Counties. Burleigh just signed a contract with Stutsman County, and may possibly sign one with Cass County in the future.