North Dakota’s Bakken oil field region is an expansive boomtown. The region’s meteoric population growth began in the mid 2000s as oil companies flocked to the area, bringing with them throngs of new workers. While this type of growth is often beneficial for a small community, McKenzie County law enforcement and correctional officials in particular quickly became overwhelmed by the extreme uptick in crime that followed.
After weighing the construction of a new jail facility for more than a decade, Chisago County, Minn., correctional officials may be ready to put the project to bid this March. Should the jail project remain on track, bids could be approved by April of this year, with completion in early 2018.
The Harford County Jail in Bel Air underwent a $32 million expansion four years ago, but one specific problem is keeping the jail from operating at its full capacity: Staffing. The Baltimore Sun reported on Nov. 27 that Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler has requested hiring an addition 36 new correctional officers to help put the currently unused expansion on line.
Time and money are two of the biggest obstacles to building new county jail facilities. However, the new 80,500-square-foot Dorchester County Detention Center in South Carolina, is on track for completion an impressive four months ahead of schedule, and rings in at a modest $19.1 million including site work.
Johnson County, Texas finally received approval in late September to proceed with Phase I construction on its increasingly inadequate jail in Cleburne. The project will improve and modernize the 870-bed facility, built in 1989, expanding its capacity by more than 200 beds.
A U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) audit reported released in late September that the Navajo Nation in Window Rock spent $30 million more than necessary to build two oversized jails.
Orange County recently selected Moseley Architects of Charlotte, N.C., to design the new Orange County Detention Facility. The new jail aims to improve both energy efficiency and mental health care for inmates.