Jail consultant could bring draft report to county board in March

URBANA -- A criminal justice consultant leading a study of Champaign County's correctional system said Thursday he expects to bring the county board a draft report on managing its jail population by as soon as late March.

The full $120,000 study by Alan Kalmanoff and the Berkeley, Calif.-based Institute for the Institute of Law and Policy Planning is due by late April.

Kalmanoff gave few hints of what his firm's report will say although he prefaced his remarks by stating, "I didn't start off with a proposal for a $20 million jail."

Several members of the public, in remarks at the beginning of Thursday night's county board meeting, had criticized board members for pushing a new jail project last year.

Kalmanoff acknowledged the county "has a maintenance problem" with its two correctional facilities, particularly the older downtown jail.

"There certainly needs to be a recommendation for some sort of systematic" maintenance at the jail facilities, he said.

Also Thursday, the board voted 19-3 to forgive a $333,142 loan the county's general fund had made to the county nursing home in 2008.

"It hasn't been paid off but it's time to say, 'Let's get it off the books.' Let's get rid of it and be done with it," said St. Joseph area Republican Aaron Esry.

Those voting against forgiving the loan included Republicans Stan James and Stanley Harper and Democrat Pattsi Petrie

Board members also approved a new contract agreement with the labor union representing about 50 correctional officers in the sheriff's office. The three-year agreement, which was ratified earlier this week by the union members, includes raises of about 2.5 percent for each year of the contract.

Despite the wintry weather, all 22 board members attended the meeting.

 

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