Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office Undergoing Jail & Justice System Assessment
The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office is getting put to the test by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) with a Jail and Justice System Assessment. The NIC will look at build and infrastructure of the correctional facility among other things.
“How are all of our systems working together?” said Jail Administrator Melissa Bohlmann. “So as far as probation, police department, sheriff’s department the judicial system; how is everything coming together?” said Bohlmann.
Before the visit, the NIC received data such as how many people have been arrested in the last ten years. These trends help determine what needs best fit the jail. The assessment can reveal several options for improvement.
“If you do these remodeling type things you can fix those same issues otherwise it may be as far as in the next so many years you should do a new facility,” said Bohlmann.
Located in downtown Bemidji, the jail opened in 1989. In 2001 The Minnesota Department of Corrections approved the capacity for 106 inmates. As of this morning there were 109 inmates. Bohlmann hopes the assessment will address the jail’s biggest problems.
“I hope that we see our population declining some in here,” said Bohlmann. “I hope that we’re able to offer more mental health services that kind of stuff.”
On average 15-20 inmates are in other facilities due to the high population. Beltrami County Jail pays $55 a day for each inmate that’s housed out.
The three day assessment concludes with additional interviews on Tuesday and a wrap up meeting on Wednesday to discuss the results and any recommendations.
“It’s huge for the community. They’re the taxpayers. They’re the ones that need to be aware of what’s going on and be educated to know what our issues are in the system,” said Bohlmann.