The special committee of the Tompkins County Legislature charged with examining capacity issues at the Tompkins County Jail and advising the Legislature on how the County should address those issues will devote its meeting on Thursday, January 19th to a public discussion on the jail capacity issue.
The Jail Study Committee meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m., at Legislature Chambers, located in the Governor Daniel D. Tompkins Building, 121 E. Court Street (Second Floor), Ithaca, with the public information portion of the meeting beginning at 5:30. Consultants from the Center for Governmental Research (CGR) will describe the steps they are taking to work through their criminal justice and jail population trend analysis; after that members of the public will be invited to speak and ask questions. CGR began its work last month, with the study expected to be completed this spring.
To learn about the study and remain informed about developments as the examination goes forward, residents are encouraged to visit the project website at www.cgr.org/TompkinsCrimJust, which may also be accessed through the County website (www.TompkinsCountyNY.gov – see “Popular Links: Tompkins County Jail Population Study”). At the site, visitors can sign up to receive email alerts as new information is added and can email the study team with comments and questions.
The County Legislature initiated the jail study process last fall, after the New York State Commission of Correction announced its intent to revoke the Jail’s long-standing 18-bed variance that has allowed the Jail to operate above its 82-bed capacity. While the variance has been temporarily reinstated, the action has forced the County to consider the possibility of building additional jail capacity.
“Ultimately, how we respond to this Jail variance issue will have long-term economic and social consequences,” notes Rich John, Chair of the Jail Study Committee. “The need to react to the Commission of Correction can be seen as an unfortunate and potentially expensive problem. But we can also see this as an opportunity to examine how we can make this piece of our criminal justice system work more efficiently, effectively, and fairly for all involved. If you have opinions and ideas, we encourage you to come and share them with us.”