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Legislature Accepts Jail Population Study

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Legislature Accepts Jail Population Study

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Legislature formally accepted the jail population study conducted by the Center for Governmental Research (CGR) entitled “Assessment of the Future of the Tompkins County Jail” and commended CGR “for its thorough and thoughtful work.” The vote was 12-2, with Legislators Dooley Kiefer and Carol Chock dissenting—those legislators preferring different wording that would have “thanked,” rather than “commended” CGR. The Legislature commissioned the analysis of current and projected jail population in response to the possible revocation of the Jail’s long-standing 18-bed variance by the State Commission of Correction. The CGR report found that Tompkins does not need to build a new jail or expand the number of beds in the existing jail, due both to Tompkins County population projections over the next 25 years and savings in bed days that can result from effective use and expansion of incarceration alternatives. It will be up to the Legislature to decide how to respond to the report’s recommendations.

The Legislature, by a vote of 12-2 (Legislators Kiefer and Dan Klein voting no), also approved an amendment to the County’s agreement with CGR for the jail population study, to reflect the increased scope of work conducted by CGR, and increasing it by $15,000 to a total of $78,000. It has been noted that CGR, in part, had conducted more than 60 in-person interviews as part of the study, more than twice the number anticipated.