Officials Say Adding Beds Will Help, Not Fix Jail Overcrowding

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Jefferson County Undersheriff Paul Trudeau says adding 36 additional dorm-style beds into the county jail will help with overcrowding, but it won't solve the problem.

"The average per day now that we're housing out is 50 individuals in other jails," said Trudeau.

On some days, the county is sending as many as 60 inmates out - a much higher number than the 36 additional inmates that could be held when the project is done.

Work on the nearly $100,000 project will begin around September 1.

When it's completed, three dozen medium security style beds will exist.

Five new guards will be hired and a chunk of the overcrowding issue will be gone.

But not all of it, and that's still on the mind of the sheriff's department.

"Get this done, get this up and going, then we can revisit what we're going to continue to do to help actually fix the problem," said Trudeau.

And the legislature agrees.

That may sound like a change of pace.

The relationship between Sheriff John Burns and the county legislature has been tenuous at best in recent years.

But according to everybody, this is a necessary start.

"Reasonable people can accomplish good things for the taxpayers. So we should look at all the options," said Legislator Phil Reed (R. - District), who chairs the General Services Committee.

According to both the sheriffs office and legislature, ideas for a final solution will be explored.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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