One of the questions from the NG to which County Board candidates provided written answers: "Would you support closing the downtown county jail and expanding the east side satellite jail
in 2013, as the county’s current long range plans indicate?
Sheriff Walsh has said (from an Oct 10 N-G article): "Personally I like being here across from the courthouse because I'm over there constantly," he said. "But except for that personal advantage, yes, we would be better off to close this facility and probably consolidate everything out there. Manpower is where we'd be better off. We have a master controller sitting here (in the downtown jail). We have a master controller sitting there. How efficient is that?"
Thorsland said: "Yes. The current downtown jail has been an issue for the past several years, both operationally and structurally. Consolidating the workforce and inmate operations at the newer facility makes economic sense; the building was designed for future expansion."
Holderfield said: "I cannot say at this time it is prudent or a wise to plan for an addition/expansion or start plans for a new building. Right now with the current financial condition of the county and the state, it is unclear how this county could financially support the cost. I believe that Sheriff Walsh has put a good plan in place with regard to the:" Ms Holderfield followed this with a list of positive management actions allegedly by Sheriff Walsh. Actually this list are actions that the sheriff has already taken. However, one of the items Ms Holderfield placed on the list is
puzzling: "Reduce downtown jail population and close cell blocks" The fewer inmates housed downtown, the more expensive the cost per prisoner becomes, because (referring back to the Sheriff's remarks) a master controller and other staff members are still needed. It seems that Thorsland, a person with an analytical background, has carried through the analysis, and has determined that the potential savings are justified. Hopefully Mr Thorsland will confirm this. Ms Holderfield should tell how she reached the conclusion that the savings from expanding the East Urbana facility do not justify the expense.