CATSKILL — Greene county lawmakers discussed the transition into the new jail facility last week.
The state Commission of Corrections is recommending the county rent a trailer for a transition team of correction officers to work in. The trailer will cost about $28,000 for the year it is on the jail site and the price will come out of the $100,000 reserved for transitional items in the jail budget, Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden said Tuesday.
“The C-of-C wants the transition team to be on-site during construction,” Groden said.
The team of six corrections officers are responsible for rewriting every operational protocol, Groden said, adding that it is important for them to be able to walk through the building and the grounds to assess the security of the jail.
“All the procedures of the old jail, that all gets chucked out the window,” Groden said.
The Greene County Jail was cited in the Commission’s 2018 Worst Offender’s Report for poor management.
“Although recognizing that facility replacement is important, the commission’s paramount concern remains with the management and operation of the current facility, which in recent years has deteriorated to the detriment of inmate and staff safety,” according to the report.
The new facility is an entirely different design, Groden said.
Instead of being on three floors, the jail is on one floor.
The facility on 80 Bridge St. in Catskill used the less preferred method of indirect supervision, which required one correctional officer for every 12 inmates, Groden said.
“Now we can have one CO per pod,” Groden said.
The new jail will have male pods at 32 and 12 beds each and a female pod at 16.
Direct supervision has the correctional officers working directly within the pods, Groden said.
The new protocols that the transition team comes up with will then have to be approved by the Commission, Groden said.
Legislator Michael Bulich, R-Catskill, did not approve of renting the trailer, he said at last week’s Public Safety Committee meeting.
“[COC] does not require us to have it,” he said.
The Commission has indicated that without the trailer, the county’s move into the new facility will be delayed, Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said.
“Are they aware we have an election and new administration coming in?” Bulich said.
Linger did not think the Commission was concerned with that.
“I don’t like the idea of having that trailer there either,” Linger said.
When asked why the transition team could not use the temporary processing center on Mansion Street in Coxsackie, Groden said there was no office space.
The building is being rented for three years, with $3,800 per month rent for the first year, $4,200 per month the second year and $4,300 per month the third.
Groden expects the trailer will be on-site in November.
“The substantial completion date [for the jail] is January 2021,” Groden said.
Substantial completion means that the jail personnel can begin moving into the building while final punch list items are completed, Groden said.
The Commission will do a round of inspections after contractors are finished, Groden said.
The county expects to begin accepting inmates at the new facility in July 2021, Groden said.
Demolition of the former jail and the sheriff’s office looms on the horizon. The historic carriage house on the property will remain intact.
“The state Environmental Quality Review is at least 30 days away,” Deputy Administrator Warren Hart said last week. The review needs to be complete before the county can demolish the buildings.
“Then it will be at least four weeks for the bid package,” he said.