Dane County looks into another option for jail renovation

Dane County looks into another option for jail renovation

Dane County officials are looking into another renovation plan for the county’s jail in downtown Madison. Over the years the county has reviewed a number of options.

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney is pushing to close the jail located in the City-County Building and the work-release Ferris Center, and put it in all into a remodeled public safety building.

Two jail remodeling options are already on the table. On Thursday, the County Board looked into paying consultants $105,000 for a third option. Mahoney said each option could cost up to $165 million, but could be significantly less. The third option would be phased in over a number of years to help spread out costs.

A proposal was presented to members of the county’s Public Protection and Judiciary Committee Thursday night, outlining a four-phase project to replace the CCB jail, Mahoney said. That proposal will be discussed at the committee’s next meeting on Tuesday.

Mahoney said the county has already spent a million dollars on studies and would like to see action now. He said the current jail is dangerous and has faulty locks which have prevented officers from getting to inmates who have attempted suicide in time.

“I really don’t have a specific desire on which option we choose, I just want something done, I want to quit paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for three ring binders full of paper, that nobody wants to address and then wait for somebody to lose their life,” Mahoney said.

However, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said he needs cheaper alternatives.

“As the county executive, I have a number of responsibilities. It’s public safety, it’s human services, it’s conservation, it’s roads, so we have a lot of need out there and we have limited resources,” Parisi said. “Before we make any decision moving forward on a jail, I need to see all of the options, including a low cost option, which is missing from the equation right now,” Parisi said.

Earlier this year, the Dane County Board approved $4.4 million in emergency safety renovations.

Mahoney said he would like to have one of the three options approved by May so part of the renovation can make it into the 2018 budget.