Average Jail Population Exceeds Capacity

In 30 years, the Franklin County Jail will need four times as many beds as it has now.

That’s according to the collaborative group hired by Franklin County to assess the needs for an expansion of the jail, 911 and sheriff’s department complex, which presented its findings to the public Tuesday.

The findings will be used by the county to inform the public with a goal of voter approval of a half-cent sales tax to fund the jail expansion and an increase in law enforcement salaries for many years to come.

Representatives from Navigate Building Solutions and Chiodini Architects presented the findings of their six-month study to a room filled with top brass from municipalities, fire, EMS and police departments from all over the county.

The initial concerns triggering this initiative include:

Jail Overcrowding/

Current Compliance

• The existing jail design is for 107 inmates and is currently reaching populations of 184.

• Average length of stay has increased 34 percent in the last 10 years.

• American Correctional Association (ACA) and Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is promoting more stringent standards.

Custody Analysis (Last 11 Years)

• Average length of stay has increased 31.7 percent, impacting average daily population.

• Increased jail population is a result of inmates staying longer in the facility.

Space Needs Projection

According to the study, the annual rate of growth for the past 11 years has been 3.25 percent per year.

The 20-year projection is for a daily population of 262 and population at peak times reaching 323.

In addition to the inmate population, the actual sheriff’s office staff has grown by more than double in the last 20 years when the existing facility was built.

The current sheriff’s office was designed for 68 staff and the current staff is 148.

The analysis also states 911 call volumes are at an all-time high and continue to increase.

The jail facility expansions include a new 41,000-square-foot jail expansion and 6,000-square-foot 911 center expansion.

Conclusion

Overall the study concludes 300 to 325 beds are needed at the jail to accommodate future growth over the next 20 years.

Looking further, 400-plus beds would be needed in the next 30 years.