COXSACKIE — Administrative personnel from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office moved into the new county jail this week.
The new facility consists of 80 cells, 64 of which are furnished; an administrative section and the hotly contested $1 million garage.
The project was funded by a $39 million bond from Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. at 2.49% interest and an $8.1 million contribution from the county.
The county anticipates accepting inmates at the new facility starting in July. The county closed the former jail, located on Bridge Street in Catskill in April 2018, citing structural concerns. The former jail and sheriff’s office were demolished in November 2020. The sheriff’s office moved to temporary quarters on Mansion Street in Coxsackie in February 2019, where it has remained until this week’s move.
The jail project is about $500,000 under budget, Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said.
“It’s pretty incredible they didn’t have one lost workday to COVID for anybody,” he said.
The county on Friday had 37 inmates, two of whom were female, Greene County Sheriff Pete Kusminsky said, which puts the new facility near capacity.
The jail will contain 16 cells for female inmates and 48 for men. Eight female cells and 16 male cells are reserved for special classifications such as suicide watch, and are not for general population, Kusminsky said.
The state Commission of Correction also requires 10% of the cells to remain open.
The new building is designed for direct supervision, where up to 32 inmates can be monitored by one corrections officer at a post within the pod equipped with security footage and one officer acting as a “floater,” Kusminsky said.
The old jail had cells arranged in a linear fashion and corrections officers had to walk down the line of cells to monitor inmates. With direct supervision, the corrections officers have a direct line of vision to the cells designated for suicide watch, Kusminsky said.
Some other novelties at the facility include male and female locker rooms for the deputies and corrections officers, which they did not have at the old office, Kusminsky said.
The 5,600-square-foot garage contains a garage bay specifically for storing vehicular evidence and is the first evidence storage of its kind in the county, Kusminsky said.
The garage will house the sheriff department’s smaller boats, UTVs and other equipment, Kusminsky said. The large boat will remain at the Historic Catskill Point and the dive van will continue to be stationed in Cairo.
The garage also contains a training room for defensive or lecture-based training, where Kusminsky hopes to have countywide law enforcement training.
With the administrative and road patrol divisions moved over, the sheriff’s office will start processing pistol permits at the new building on Monday, Kusminsky said.
The corrections division continues to operate at 370 Mansion St., although the county is aiming to get approval from the state Commission of Correction to process inmates at the new facility soon, Kusminsky said.
There are several multi-purpose rooms in the jail where inmates will be able to earn their GED diplomas, work on resume writing and see counselors or clergy members, Kusminsky said.
The county is still finalizing contracts with service providers, Kusminsky said. The Rev. Richard Turpin of Second Baptist Church in Catskill will be one of the clergy members available.
One of the rooms is designed to hold on-site arraignments, Kusminsky said.
Until the new facility opens, the county’s inmates are being boarded at the Albany, Ulster and Columbia county jails for $70 to $75 per day per inmate.
The Pike Company, of Albany, oversaw the project.