Says fewer beds needed because of bail reform
Dutchess County plans to redesign a proposed jail in Poughkeepsie following changes to the state’s bail laws.
The county Legislature in 2016 approved the Dutchess County Justice and Transition Center, which will be built on the site of the current jail.
In a statement, County Executive Marc Molinaro said state bail reforms that go into effect on Jan. 1 will keep many people charged with misdemeanors and non-violent felonies out of jail while they await trial. He cited that and the county’s ongoing diversion programs as reducing the need for a larger facility. The state department of corrections had asked for a final design in May but agreed to wait until November to allow the county to make changes. Construction was to begin in the fall and be completed by December 2023.
Molinaro said the redesign should reduce the size of the facility by about 100 beds and save the county as much as $8 million in construction costs and up to $2.5 million in annual operational costs.
The state initially asked that the facility be able to house as many as 620 inmates; the current design calls for 384 beds, including 100 beds from the existing jail built in 1995, and 35 medical/mental health beds. The jail’s current population is about 350 inmates.
The revised plan would remove two housing units from the fifth floor of the proposed facility and eliminate the use of the 1995 building to house inmates, the county executive said in a statement. Instead, the 1995 facility will house administrative offices and mental-health beds, and will also be available for overflow.