Beltrami Commissioners discuss jail future in meeting

By: News Director Larissa Donovan

BEMIDJI– The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners will hear a jail update during every work session from here on out after receiving some seemingly dire news from jail administration.

The state Department of Corrections has cited several critical issues that need to be fixed in the jail, but have yet to give the facility a sunset, or closure, date.

These issues range from adequate, working bathrooms in the cell blocks to security issues such as replacing some secure doors with sally ports.

Jail Administrator Calandra Allen gave the report, indicating that the latest inspection has reduced their capacity, forcing them to house more inmates out of county.

Beltrami County Jail Administrator Calandra Allen

The DOC typically gives 36-months for a sunset date, but may give 48-months if certain conditions and efforts are made to update the jail.

The board discussed hiring a professional consultant to review options, whether to remodel the existing facility, which is connected to the courthouse for ease of transport for making court appearances, or build an entirely new facility, which could cost between 15 and 18 million dollars. 

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