December 13, 2016

The Carroll County Jail Committee will visit the Montgomery County Joint Law Enforcement Center in Red Oak to continue to gather information about what sort of jail facility would work best in Carroll County.

In March, the board of supervisors was informed by Delbert Longley, Iowa Department of Corrections chief jail inspector, that the current jail inside the courthouse had multiple problems that needed to be addressed.

“The design of the facility is not user friendly, classification is non-existent and creates a safety and security concern,” Longley wrote in his report after a January inspection.

“Classification” refers to Department of Corrections standards for housing prisoners separately based on gender, the nature of the crime and whether the prisoner has been convicted.

Longley also cited “multiple loose bunks” and a leaky roof that could lead to sanitation issues.

The 24-bed Red Oak facility was completed in 2012 and is being paid for with a 94-cent-per-thousand, 20-year bond at a cost of $5.675 million.

As of the 2010 census, Montgomery County had a population of 10,740. Carroll County had 20,816 residents counted during the same census.

The jail committee — made of Supervisors Neil Bock and Gene Meiners, Clerk of Court Linda Frank, Sheriff Ken Pingrey and Auditor Kourtney Irlbeck — has been charged with assembling a plan to remodel or expand the current jail or build a new facility.

The committee already visited the Crawford and Sac County jails in August.

After the August visits, Bock said he was impressed with the $2 million facility in Denison, which has 38 beds.

“It’s set up so one jailer can operate the whole thing no matter how many people are incarcerated,” Bock said. “They operate at a high level of efficiency.”

Bock said he’s always open to ideas, but for now he’s not looking at the idea of a joint facility like the one in Red Oak, where the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office shares operational space with the Red Oak Police Department.

“(Wednesday) we’ll just be looking specifically at the jail,” Bock said. “We’re keeping our options open, but we do learn things each jail we visit. Sometimes we learn what we need and want to do, while in other cases we see things we don’t want to do.”

No specific time frame for a proposal has been established, but Longley told the board it can take as many as five years from the time a proposal is approved until the jail opens.