09/23/13 — Jail panel set to meet

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Jail panel set to meet

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 23, 2013 1:46 PM

The Wayne County Detention Center Advisory Board is expected Wednesday to review a proposed request for qualifications for a needs assessment and feasibility study for converting Wayne Correctional Center to house the Sheriff's Office and county jail.

The study could cost between $70,000 and $100,0000.

Board members have said that they want the study done by a company that has experience in building jails. Companies responding to the request will be required to include a list of similar projects they have completed in the state.

Final approval rests with Wayne County commissioners, who earlier this month created the board to look at options and to make recommendations as to how the county could use the prison at 700 Stevens Mill Road after it closes next month because of state budget cuts.

The meeting will start at 8 a.m. in room 458 on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

At its first meeting, the advisory board adopted a resolution asking that the state make the prison available to the county to use as a jail. Commissioners approved the resolution at their meeting last week.

The resolution also calls on the state to allow commissioners and county employees and agents to tour the prison as soon as the inmates have been released so that the county can better determine the potential cost of converting the prison to a jail.

It is possible that commissioners will be able to make that tour Sept. 30.

The state has not yet said what it will do with the closed facility.

However, commissioners see renovating the 428-bed prison as a less-expensive option to building a new $60 million or more jail to alleviate chronic overcrowding that is forcing the county to house inmates in other counties.

A $4 million renovation project at the prison was included in the county's capital improvement plan for fiscal year 2015-16, just in case the state agrees to such an arrangement.

Also, the larger facility could create revenue by allowing the county to house inmates from other counties, as well as state and federal inmates.

The scope of the study includes:

* Projecting the inmate populations for the next five, 15 and 25 years and the number of beds needed for each

* Projecting the number and classification of housing needed to accommodate the populations

* Developing staffing levels, including direct and indirect costs and supervision alternatives

* Conducting a site analysis based on the population projections to determine if the existing site is feasible for the ultimate size of the facility

* Conducting an assessment of the jail's core spaces to determine the anticipated ultimate capacity of the facility

* Providing conceptual plans for each option

* Providing operational/cost analysis to operate and maintain the facility.