Special meeting to hear final report of jail needs and feasibility study

The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners will hold a special meeting next week to hear the Jail Feasibility and Needs Assessment.

According to a release from Sheriff Ernie Beitel, the jail has “experienced many challenges over the years.”

“The challenges faced include severe housing capacity limitations, an inability for the jail to meet Department of Corrections jail design standards, an increase in needs for mental health and chemical dependency resources, jail staff recruiting and retention impediments due to working conditions, elevated movement and safety liabilities due to current design limitations, and an outdated and aging building infrastructure.”

About three years after entering an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Corrections to review the jail, Justice Planners will unveil the recommendations based on their research.

A request for proposals, or RFP, was issued in Dec. 2021, and Justice Planners visited the area in Feb. 2022 to gather more information.

This visit included three days of comprehensive interviews with various stakeholders, including members of the Jail Project Committees, local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and public defenders, and court and jail administration.

The final report will be presented on Wednesday, Aug. 24, at 9:30 a.m. in the County Board Room.

No public comment will be accepted during this special meeting, but written comments can be submitted online from Aug. 25 through Sept. 21.

A public hearing on the jail needs assessment and feasibility study will be held on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m.

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