Public comment being accepted on a potential future jail project

The public can submit comment on the future Beltrami County Jail project.

An all-encompassing report from Justice Planners reviewed a number of factors for the feasibility study, such as jail population, court backlogs, booking times, recidivism, the use of electronic home monitoring as well as social factors facing this county’s jail population, particularly chemical dependency and mental health.

Currently, the Beltrami County Jail has a bed capacity of 132 but only an operational capacity of 118, with more than 40 inmates boarded elsewhere daily since at least April.

The cost to board inmates out of the county is about $55 per inmate, per day.

A number of physical deficiencies are noted at the jail, such as a lack of storage and an inability to separate inmates.

The seven options include “do nothing,” to continue to operate and conduct repairs as needed; reducing the jail to a 36-hour holding facility; renovating the existing jail; expanding the jail, possibly to a parking lot across the street connected to the current jail; build a new detention center; build a regional detention center; or close the detention center.

The county board will hold a public hearing on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m.

The full reports can be viewed online, and written comments will be accepted through Sept. 21.

Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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