According to this StarTribune article, Scott and Carver counties are in preliminary talks to merge their jails as a cost saving measure. While the two counties have worked collaboratively in other cost savings measures, this time they’re getting a lot of negative pushback from those who may be impacted by the consolidation.
From the article:
Carver’s jail went up in 1994, Scott’s in 2005. But the average number of inmates in both institutions could fit within Scott’s with room to spare.
Both sides stress that the talks are preliminary, with no decision expected for many months. But they add that with total costs of more than $7 million, the savings could be substantial.
Early opposition is coming from judges, officials say. One option is to shift all criminal courts to one side of the Minnesota River, creating more specialized courts on both sides — criminal and civil — but that is an unappetizing feature for some.
Nor are sheriffs totally keen. Their staffs are on the line, and they want to make sure lots of extra transport time doesn’t compromise public safety.
The County Commissions of Scott and Carver are making a common sense decision to mothball one of the two facilities and combat the rising cost of inmate incarceration. The fact that there is so much pushback from the various units which operate within the facilities is disheartening. Everyone wants a piece of the growing ‘jail time’ pie but no one wants to face the reality that budget cuts at the County level need to continue to happen to make working and living in those two counties more affordable as the expected rapid growth continues to allude local governments.
Are you surprised the County Commissioners for Scott and Carver would make such a bold move? Do you think these talks are really “preliminary” or do you believe it will happen due to the potential for such cost savings? Will the savings actually equal what they believe or, like e-pulltabs, will they fall way short of expectations due to other associated costs? Do you think the pushback from judges and the Sheriff’s Office are warranted? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.