Beltrami County Jail Aims To Improve After Failing Inspection
The Minnesota Department of Corrections inspects jails to ensure they’re in line with the state’s regulations. In May 2019, an inspector came to see the Beltrami County Jail, and the results were not in the prison’s favor.
“A lot of it had to deal with our square footage and one of our special housing units, the special housing unit meaning an inmate who may have mental health concerns who cannot be around other inmates. They had their showers, their cells, everything just was not maintained the way it should have been,” Beltrami County Jail Administrator Calandra Allen said.
During the inspection, there were a couple of violations. A lot of the problems revolve around the space, classifications, and number of inmates housed.
“Additionally, we have leaks in many parts of the building, even in the new parts of the building, we’re consistently replacing tiles, trying to find where those leaks are. To me, I’m not maintenance personnel, but I’m thinking it’s probably condensation, but then it’s also raining leaks,” Allen said.
During the inspection, the DOC told the jail administrator that for 30 years the jail had aged 200 years.
“We’ll continue to do the upgrades to our D and C blocks for first floor for our females, we will take out the urinals that the DOC is expected us to do. We will try and maintain to try and keep functioning as a jail,“ Allen said.
Allen said that their budgetary worries involve maintenance, law enforcement supplies, inmate supplies, light fixtures and even utilities.
“Our main concerns for budgetary items will be moving a wall or taking out a urinal and putting in a toilet, it’s dealing with cement, it’s not dealing with a normal wall that you and I would have in our homes. So, for just that remodel alone it’s going to cost an upward of $15,000,” Allen said.
During a Beltrami County Commissioners work session meeting, commissioners talked about the possibility of building a new jail or remodeling the current one. But nothing has been decided. The jail administrator says that Beltrami County Jail is too much of a hub and she doesn’t see it shutting down.
“We work with marshals, we work with the FBI, we work with Red Lake, we work with many other counties around us and we do the best we can to help with transport and many other things,” Allen said.
Beltrami County Jail books in approximately 3,000 inmates annually.