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Minnehaha County Jail Addition Explored

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As the Sioux Falls area grows, the demand for more jail space will also grow.

Right now community leaders are trying to guess what the future may hold. Building a new corrections facility is probably a necessity in Minnehaha County. However, a committee appointed by the county commission is trying to come up with ways to limit the cost of incarceration in the future.

Craig Anderson is chairman of the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee. He says they are focusing on programs to keep people out of jail

"If there are alternatives out there that we've not explored yet or fully implemented they could have a significant impact on the size of the facility, or whether we even need a new facility here in town, says Anderson.”

The county already has programs in place to keep non dangerous criminals out of jail, for example the 24/7, scram and walk in warrants programs are all designed to lead people back to productive crime free lives.

Sheriff Mike Milstead supports and commends these programs, However, he's also waiting for a jail population forecast from a Kansas City firm.     

The forecast could tell the county what kind of jail space they need in the future.   
“We realize that our aging community corrections enter needs to be replaced remodeled, relocated whatever it is, but I think what we're seeing in our jail numbers is our biggest demand are for regular jail beds,” said Milstead.

The sheriff says a new facility may need to have both a work release component and regular jail beds.

Also revealed at Monday's meeting, the original architects on the jail project, TSP, will study the possibility or adding two more floors on the existing jail.
“We've heard for years that adding two floors to the downtown jail is and expensive proposition but we never really heard that officially, we've always just assumed that. Maybe we should find out that it would cost, so that we have something comparable,” said Milstead.

A spokesman for TSP Architecture told the committee his firm will do the cost analysis for free and present their findings to the county.
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