In order to satisfy legal requirements as to overcrowding, the current jail, with a bed count of 732, must remain at or under a census of 622 individuals in order to not be deemed overcrowded. The jail could potentially have two additional floors added to a portion which would add 226 beds, resulting in a target census of 822 individuals. A review of the jail’s census over the past five years reflects that adding on to the existing jail will not resolve overcrowding. With a target of 822 inmates to avoid overcrowding, the jail would be full and likely overcrowded from the day the addition opens. Unfortunately, a new jail is necessary.
The new facility is being constructed for a target number of 1,300 beds, but there will never be that many individuals incarcerated for a number of reasons: The new facility will be constructed with more space for physical and mental care. Areas will be engineered to be more sensory-friendly for certain inmates with mental health concerns. In addition, some pods will be female only, and there are restrictions on what level of offenders may be housed together. All of these segregation considerations mean that at any given time, some number of beds will be unused. And finally, the current jail was over rated capacity, 80 percent full, from the date of opening. The goal is for that not be a factor for many years.