Construction changes delay jail opening

Change orders from the state Commission of Correction have indefinitely delayed the opening of the new Greene County Jail, pictured.

COXSACKIE — The new Greene County Jail was scheduled to open to accept inmates July 1, but construction changes mandated by the state have pushed back the start date.

The New York State Commission of Correction — the oversight agency tasked with evaluating all county jails and other correctional facilities — walked back some of its approvals on the jail project, located on Route 9W.

“There were a couple of things they wanted changed and it will depend on whether we can get those things procured and installed by that date,” Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said.

It is unclear how much the delay will cost the county because the Commission of Correction has not made its list of change orders final, Linger said.

“We’re not even sure how much they want us to do or what they want us to do,” Linger said Friday.

County officials are not certain how long the opening will be on hold because there is a delay in the procurement of materials.

“We’re seeing a delay in getting the materials like other big construction projects,” Linger said. “We’ll have to see what we need to do to satisfy the Commission of Correction.”

Among the issues was an area of fencing on the perimeter of the grounds.

“We initially had a block wall there and the state wanted a fence so there is open air,” Linger said. “Now they don’t want the inmates able to see the parking lot. At this date it is difficult to make those changes.”

A final decision has not been reached on how to address the fencing issue, but the county will likely put up some sort of barrier around the chain link fence, Linger said.

There are also staffing issues at the jail, Greene County Legislator Charles Martinez, R-Coxsackie, said Thursday.

“We are short on corrections officers — we have 27 and we need 30,” Martinez said. “We are looking to hire people, but they have to be on the civil service list. They took the test a few weeks ago, so it will be some time before they will be on the list.”

It is unclear at this time when the new jail will open its doors to accept inmates, Martinez said.

Most of the administrative operations at the temporary sheriff’s office, 370 Mansion St. in West Coxsackie, have been moved to the new jail building, which will also house the sheriff’s office.

The Commission of Correction does not oversee the sheriff’s office, so about 75% of the staff were able to move into the new building about one month ago, Linger said.

“Once we had the certificate of occupancy for the administrative side, we moved in about three-quarters of the department that was working there,” Linger said. “The only thing left at the Mansion Street site is jail intake. When we take someone in, we have to do paperwork and transfer them to another facility. We only have physical custody of them for up to four hours and that is still being done in that building.”

The temporary sheriff’s office on Mansion Street will be closed once the new jail opens up for inmates.

It is not known what will be done with the temporary site after the sheriff’s office vacates it completely.

“Initially the Office of Court Administration was looking to consolidate and that would have been a good place to do that, but it looks like maybe the Office of Court Administration is pulling back on that,” Linger said.

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(2) comments

Riverdweller

I’ll echo this. This was the most blatant example of local “ taxpayer be damned” cheerleading. Instead of something socially redeeming these testerone-fueled legislators chose to champion the single worst use of resources. Now the region can spawn another generation of surly CO’s to congregate in the gyms and bars after work to share stories of the “animals” they have to deal with every day. Shame on Greene County.

Elizabeth

Can we say BOONDOGGLE, boys and girls?

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