Judiciary Committee:

Detention Home: After a period of neglect by the previous administration the Detention Center needs repair. Many thanks toChairman Walters who responded to my requests for a special meeting to discuss this.

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We met on August 8. Facilities Director Rob Schmidt reported the most cost effective route would be to repair the Detention Center for approximately $935,000. I agree with his assessment. Other options include; (1) outsourcing care, or, (2) building ‘a new Detention Center’. These later two (2) options don’t seem the best choices for our county.

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Outsourcing Care: Initial estimates for ‘outsourcing care’ seem expensive. Given detention center populations the housing would cost about $980,000 per year. This number does not include the cost in manpower, salaries, gas, and vehicle depreciation taking youth to other counties. Other costs include the cost to our Public Defender’s Office associated with lost man-hours due to travel to out of county facilities to fulfill statutory requirements. Transport may also entail additional dangers to staff associated with potential escape attempts. ‘Outsourcing care for at risk youth’ will mean we will not be in control of rehabilitation and may involve hardship for families wishing to visit their incarcerated loved one elsewhere.

Building A New Facility: Estimates indicate this would not be ‘cost effective’. Initial estimates from one concern indicated it might cost $75,000 per cell. However, real world estimates from Detention Centers recently built in Ohio (according to the new ADA and Correctional standards) cost $235,000 per cell. A 25 bed facility in Ohio cost taxpayers well over six million dollars. A similar facility in Madison County would probably cost the same and this does not include the cost of procuring new land for the project.

CONCLUSION: Repair of the current facility seems the best option. It is cost effective while placing the least amount of stress upon the county support system and inmate families. Furthermore, Madison County will provide a rehabilitation program for troubled youth. We will be taking care of our own.

Food for Thought: If citizens didn’t vote to take out bonds to build a costly new jail then why would board members vote to build a new six million dollar Detention Home? The current one can be repaired at a fraction of the cost.

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