After U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves extended the term of a consent decree involving the seven-unit, 1,260-bed Walnut Grove Correctional Facility in Walnut Grove, Miss. earlier this month, a lawyer for the state’s corrections department invited the judge to visit the private prison for a firsthand look at operational improvements.
Back in the ’30s, an inventor named Bill Gallagher devised a way to keep his horse from using a car as a scratching post by installing an electrical circuit that delivered a shock whenever the horse touched the vehicle. The invention sparked an idea to create an electrical fencing system.
County jails will be competing for the about $500 million from Governor Jerry Brown’s 2015-2016 budget proposal allotted to the latest round of facilities funding to help offset the effects of California realignment, aka AB 109. Although the state has provided about $1.7 billion for new jail construction — $1.2 billion from AB 900 and $500 million from SB 1022 — since AB 109 was passed in 2011, not all of the counties needing help have received jail construction funding. One of those counties is Mendocino County in Northern California.
Two new temporary housing units approved for use at the chronically overcrowded Dutchess County Jail in Poughkeepsie are now set to open in May. The units will improve care and services for county inmates, streamline the judicial system and result in a considerable cost savings, addressing a correctional housing problem the county has grappled with for more than 20 years.
With dwindling options for state-level mental health treatment, county jails are managing a population of inmates that they are often ill equipped to handle. According to the Department of Justice’s 2006 Special Report, 64 percent of those being held in local jails had a mental illness, up from 16 percent in 1998.