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Jail committee wants residents' questions

The committee tasked with planning a new jail, sheriff’s office, and 911 center wants county residents’ questions about the project.

Public questions and comments would give them a better idea how to approach the project, committee members said Monday in Hillsboro.

Eventually the committee hopes to have a meeting in each town in Marion County, with two in Hillsboro and Marion.

The committee asked residents to submit questions to the newspaper. Questions and comments for the committee can be e-mailed to news@marionrecord.com.

Committee members voted to call the project Marion County Public Safety and Law Enforcement Center. They believed it important that the name indicates it is more than just a jail. The facility could house the sheriff’s department, 911, and emergency management.

Sheriff Rob Craft reviewed the requirements of a holding facility. One would be needed if the county sent inmates to jails out of county, because they can’t be taken in the middle of the night, he said.

A holding facility would need four to six beds, and must be compliant with fire code and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Rooms to shower, dress, and meet with attorneys would be essential, Craft said.

The committee will seek cost information from Morris County, because it transports many of its inmates to other counties.

The possibility of sharing a facility with Marion Police was mentioned, but quickly discarded.

Members reviewed minutes from the May 19 meeting. At that meeting, they decided to plan a 26-bed facility, with room for at least one 14-bed expansion. They also decided not to pursue renovating the current jail to meet the county’s needs.

Committee members want a clear budget for the jail, separate from the sheriff and communications departments.

At its next meeting, the committee will meet with Marion County Commission. At presstime, no date was set, as the committee waited for a response from the commission.

Last modified June 3, 2009

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