Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

County jail to get new holding cell<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;

When new beds become available at the Jefferson County jail, Crook County will have need for another holding cell - a place to put female prisoners waiting to be transported
The Crook County Sheriff's office has sent out a call for bids as the first step in upgrading the county jail.
   Next month, when Jefferson County's new jail is up and running, Crook County will start renting bed space. As part of that, a new holding cell will have to be created in the local lockup. At the present time, in addition to the 24 beds in the jail, the county rents a dozen beds at the Deschutes County Work Camp. With Jefferson County's 12 beds, Sheriff Rodd Clark says there won't be as many people turned out for lack of jail space.
   "It's not going to solve the problem," Clark said, "but it will ease some of the pressure. Having 48 jail beds will help, but it's still a few short."
   Last week 27 people sentenced to jail time for a variety of crimes, were turned away from the Crook County jail.
   The need for a second holding cell comes from the ability to rent more beds. At the present time, with only one holding cell, there is no place to put any females being taken into custody. "This will enable us to hold females as well as males," Clark said.
   Right now, the county has access to only two jail beds suitable for incarcerating women. Once Jefferson County's jail becomes available, however, that will change. Crook County will rent 12 spaces, Clark explained, and it doesn't matter whether they are male or female. The county will pay $50 per bed per day for the Jefferson County beds.
   Clark said the first time the entire remodeling was put out to contractors, the county only received one bid and that one was twice the estimated cost. The sheriff believes the single high bid was because the project is pretty small, less than $12,000. Whatever the reason, at that point the county decided to act as its own contractor and sub out to individual local contractors for each part of the job.
   The remodeling at the jail will be to convert a small property room into the new holding cell. That means replacing the tile ceiling with secure jail ceiling, replace a door with a secure wall and install plumbing. A super strong toilet will have to be installed, Clark said. "That toilet has to be stainless steel and costs about $3,000. A common porcelain toilet would just get broken up."
   Work isn't expected to start until after the first of the month, when the additional beds at Jefferson County become available. Construction workers will have to work while there are people in the jail. It won't be convenient, Clark said, but "we don't have much choice."
   The new holding cell isn't the only upgrading project at the jail. Sheriff Clark said a new surveillance camera system has been installed. "We've had new low light cameras put in," he explained. "They are for safety and to make sure nothing is happening that shouldn't be happening at night."
   The $8,000 upgrade was funded and approved last budget year and is just now being finished.