Jail Study Committee Receives Jail Population Report

Press Release (ePRNews.com) - ITHACA, N.Y. - Aug 01, 2017 - CGR presented findings from a six-month study related to capacity issues at the Tompkins County Jail to the Legislature’s special Jail Study Committee on July 20th.

CGR’s final report finds that Tompkins does not need to build a new jail or expand the number of beds in the existing jail, due both to Tompkins County population projections over the next 25 years and savings in bed days that can result from effective use and expansion of incarceration alternatives.

At a public meeting, Don Pryor, Ph.D. and Peter Nabozny guided the committee, and members of the public, through the report’s findings and recommendations, which include several near-term inmate-reduction strategies, such as expanding substance abuse assessments and access to residential rehab treatment and supporting creation of non-jail medical detox capacity. Also among the many items recommended: expanding the interior footprint of the jail to allow for more inmate services; coordinating and refocusing the re-entry program; and criminal justice initiatives, such as presumption of non-financial release.

Legislators thanked CGR for its work, and representatives of the community for their important role as part of the study process. “I can’t resist saying what a big deal this is,” said Legislator Martha Robertson. “We’ve been here before with a lot of consultants and a lot of time…This really is thoughtful, comprehensive, innovative, and extremely helpful…I think we in the community are willing to spend money on this and are prepared to do the work.” Praising CGR’s research, Legislator Jim Dennis said, “If we’re looking for ways to reduce the population and satisfy the [State Commission of Correction], you’ve given us a roadmap to do that.” Several members of the community also spoke positively about the study. “Certainly, we were very impressed with the depth and positive nature of the study, and we are excited to support it,” said Elan Shapiro.

Tompkins County must now review the study findings and decide how to proceed. Noting the time pressure to formulate recommendations to New York State regarding continuation of the jail’s 18-bed variance, Committee Chair Rich John predicted an intensive process. “We have a lot of work to do,” he said.

Reflecting on his remarks at the time the Jail Study Committee began work last year, Mr. John said, “A jail really reflects the values of the community…and that’s absolutely true in Tompkins County…This was all triggered by New York State. In some ways, it has been a good thing that New York State has taken us to task. Ultimately, I think we are going to end up with a better criminal justice system, and certainly a more thoughtful one.”

The study report, entitled “An Assessment of the Future of the Tompkins County Jail,” is posted at CGR’s project website at: https://www.cgr.org/TompkinsCrimJust/documents/

About CGR
Founded in 1915, Center for Governmental Research is an independent, nonprofit management consulting organization delivering expertise in government and education, economics and public finance, health and human services, and nonprofits and communities. To learn more, visit https://www.cgr.org.

Source : Center for Governmental Research

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