Collier County may need to spend tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars reconstructing its jail if commissioners and the Sheriff’s Workplace are critical about including extra beds and providers for inmates with psychological well being and drug abuse issues.
That’s in line with a brand new grasp plan and research of lengthy-time period wants for the jail from marketing consultant AECOM Inc.
Throughout the nation, jails primarily have grow to be a group’s first or solely response to a variety of psychological well being points. That is definitely true in Collier County, the place 1 / 4 of inmates sampled by AECOM reported that they had been hospitalized for an emotional or psychological drawback.
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“Jails have just become the catch-all for mental health,” said Roger Lichtman, senior vice president of AECOM. “There isn’t much of another place to take them, so they wind up in jail.”
Lichtman presented the master plan to Collier commissioners Tuesday. The study shows that the county’s aging jail doesn’t have enough housing units to separate inmates with mental health problems from others. There is no medical infirmary for arrested women, a lack of detoxification cells and not enough beds, in general, for mental health inmates, especially for women, according to the study.
As the county keeps growing, the jail population likely will increase as well. A better layout of the cells, common rooms and classrooms would require fewer guards per inmate to supervise the jail, the study found.
The master plan lays out five construction options the county could take to add beds, renovate cells and common rooms and prepare the facilities for the decades to come.
The estimated cost of the options range from $13 million to renovate the current buildings on the campus to upward of $134 million to demolish most of the campus and rebuild the jail.
The problem with renovation alone is that there is almost no way to add enough space to meet the need in a growing population, Lichtman said.
“You could just be building a new old jail,” Lichtman said.
The best option might be to renovate much of the existing campus, while adding smaller structures to meet the need for beds at a cost of about $36 million, Lichtman said.
The study emphasizes that the jail can’t be left as it is. Inmates with unchecked mental health issues or untreated addictions keep cycling in and out of the jail.
“A future based on no changes to the operation or building would certainly appear bleak,” the study report states.
It will be two to five years before the Sheriff’s Office decides whether to move forward with some form of reconstruction, said corrections Chief Chris Roberts.
“We’re still absorbing the plan,” Roberts said. “We’re not looking to build a new jail or create things we don’t need or spend money we don’t have.”
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