It's official. The Community Corrections Center in Sioux Falls will be replaced with a $46 million expansion to the Minnehaha County Jail. The County Commission approved the financing Tuesday morning. But for law enforcement officials, the addition can't come soon enough.
Around 10,000 inmates fill the Minnehaha County Jail each year. Most of the time, it's at capacity; 85 percent of the 400 beds are full.
"We've done a lot to try to get low risk offenders out of jail, but our need for secure jail beds continues to rise," said Minnehaha Co. Sheriff Mike Milstead.
Minnehaha Co. Jail Warden Jeff Gromer said, "We routinely run very, very full and are working between trying to find inmates houses within the jail that we're able to classify to house at the Corrections Center."
Gromer typically has to get that number down to around 340 during the week to make room for those arrested over the weekend. That means transferring inmates to their other facility. As we found out in early October, when a 'overflow inmate' jumped the fence, the Corrections Center doesn't have the same security. The Sheriff says the newly approved jail expansion would fix that.
Milstead said, "It will be an addition built directly adjacent to our current downtown jail. It will replace the aging and soon to be obsolete Corrections Center on West Russell that was a low risk housing facility."
The addition will include a new Sally Port, inmate booking area, and 320-beds. With the replacement of the Corrections Center, Minnehaha County will gain 95 beds.
"This is not only meeting our needs for the next, at least, 10 to 15 years but also it's going to help Lincoln County meet their needs for the next 8 to 10 years," said Milstead.
The Warden says without this facility, down the road, they could have been in danger of telling other counties who rent beds in Minnehaha County 'no'.
Gromer said, "There would have to be some very difficult decisions made in the very near future without the jail expansion."
Milstead says the ability to rent out beds to counties such as Lincoln County and the U.S. Marshall's Service will allow Minnehaha to grow into the new facility and help keep taxpayer costs down.
The expansion is expected to take three years to complete. At the earliest, Minnehaha County residents would see an increase in property taxes in 2018, which would increase $10 a year based on the valuation of a $100,000 home.