Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
January 22, 2010 Issue
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Established 1891
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County seeks jail savings

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — County officials are trying to get the state to agree to smaller, windowless cells to cut down on estimated construction costs of the mandated new county jail.
Last Thursday, legislators unanimously approved a resolution asking the state Commission of Correction (COC) to downgrade its standards to the level of the American Correctional Association’s (ACA).
Upstate Franklin County, according to the resolution, found a potential 20 percent savings, and Sullivan County officials are desperate to reduce the estimated $80-$100 million cost of a new jail – one mandated to be built by the COC.
ACA, a trade group, has developed standards for jail construction, including square footage and lighting of cells.
The county is asking the state to follow those guidelines, which would allow it to substitute artificial lighting for natural, provide no more than 10 percent of jail space for single-inmate cells, halve the inmate sleeping space’s clear floor area from 50 square feet to 25, replace the minimum two hours-per-week of in-person visitation time with video or other non-contact visitation, and give the county complete oversight of inmate management, including boarding-out and peak population.

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