September 10-11, 2011

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Area counties should consider some form of jail collaboration, says study

Dutchess County has been under state pressure
for over a decade, to upgrade or replace
its overcrowded jail

POUGHKEEPSIE – A SUNY New Paltz study into possible collaboration among area counties to find efficiencies in the operations of their county jails has offered a number of recommendations.

The study looked at possible partnerships between the counties of Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland and Sullivan. It was conducted by the college’s Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach.

Some jails in the region are facing space and/or facilities problems and are under the gun of the State Commission on Correction to do something about them.

Dutchess County’s Jail is overcrowded with large numbers of inmates being boarded out daily. Sullivan is in a similar boat at its 100-year-old jail is dilapidated and has seen sections shut down by the state because of their poor conditions.

CRREO’s Joshua Simons said there could be some regionalization of jail space.

“One of the ideas here was that there were several state facilities or that are adjoining state facilities such as the Ulster County Annex, which are now ready and for instance, for state readies and parole violators, it would make sense to contract with the state to run a facility such as that, that could also be used for overflow,” he said. “The third option was to actually be able to utilize closed state facilities and particularly in Sullivan County, there’s an annex to the Sullivan prison there that could be utilized to be able to alleviate some of their need.”

Sullivan officials have already examined that possibility as a replacement for the current jail, and virtually ruled it out.

The college study also discussed using video technology instead of in-person appearances for court, video jail visitations for inmates that are boarded out and abolishing weekend sentencing.


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