Beltrami Co. Board Views Results of Jail Feasibility Study
After almost half a year, the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners finally viewed results from the long-anticipated Jail Needs Assessment and Feasibility Study at a special work session on Wednesday. Upon speaking with different agencies and reviewing past data, the group Justice Planners provided seven different options for what the county could possibly consider for the future of the Beltrami County Jail.
With challenges such as a lack of beds, space, and staff at the jail, the feasibility study provided much needed information to understand what could happen if nothing is done to potentially improve conditions at the facility.
The board will now take months of research into consideration as right now with the current condition of the jail, a few spokes are missing in the wheel of criminal justice in the county.
Justice Planners presented seven options to the board. These options included:
- Maintain the Status Quo
- Operate as a 36-Hour Holding Facility
- Renovate the Jail
- Expand the Jail
- Build a New Jail
- Build a Regional Jail
- Close the Jail
Justice Planners listed advantages and disadvantages for all seven feasible choices. The commission will have until September 22nd to discuss and decide next steps with the jail project.
Following the presentation, Beltrami County Sheriff Ernie Beitel shared his thoughts on the findings and the presented options, including possibly converting the jail to an adult correctional facility. But he still urged the county commissioners to come to a decision by the deadline, despite the delays caused by COVID-19.
Public comments can be submitted by visiting the Beltrami County Jail Project website. Information on the project and the study results can also be viewed on this page. This method will be the best way for the county board to gather public and taxpayer input.
Tours of the Beltrami Jail are also available and can be set up by contacting jail administration.
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