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   Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
After many months of research on our Jail and Jails in general we have written this
 report to better inform the Citizens Of Herkimer County so that we can all make
                             better informed decisions.

                    Proposed Herkimer County Jail Size:
  130 Beds, Double Bunked To 160 Beds with the Capacity of expanding to 210

                          Comparison cost with Other Counties:

After many requests presented to our county representatives and specifically our
County Administrator Jim Wallace on what the operating costs of running a
facility of this size would be, no one seems to have an answer and logically so,
they do not know. But isn’t it logical to assume if we ask other counties who have
built similar facilities we can have a rough idea at least what their operating costs
are. We have personally contacted the below listed counties and spoken to at least
one representative from each of them, most of which are Legislators,
Administrators or Law Enforcement personnel.

Allegany County
Built 150 Bed Facility, Opened Fall 2006
        2007 Budgeted $3,122,154 for Jail Operations =       $260,179.50 Monthly

       $25,000,000 Loan To Build Jail (20 years @ 4.5%)
       Principle + Interest                          = $158,162.34 Monthly

Total Monthly Cost without Utilities: $418,341.84

**Note: Facility as of 9/07 only has at max 50-75 prisoners per day, assumed budget for 2008
would increase to about $4,000,000 due to expected more prisoners boarding In (Hiring more
guards, food , etc.)
Also monthly costs for Utilities are not known!!!!

Comments From Allegany County Legislator Theodore Hopkins:
Said do not build the facility if you plan on making money from it.

                       Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
Cayuga County
Built 210 Bed Facility and possibly expanding.

       2007 Budget for Jail total operations including Utilities = $6,755,569

       Loan/Debt Service, if any, is not included in above amount.

Their monthly cost $562, 964.08

Their county population is 79,000 people….

Comments From Cayuga County Legislator - Chairman Judicial & Public Safety Committee
Raymond Lockwood:
Said do not build the facility if you plan on making money from it. This was the right thing to do
5+ years ago, now it is a gamble since many neighboring counties have their own facility.
Seneca County next door is building a massive facility and will deplete their Board In’s.

Putnam County
Built a 128 Bed Facility about 15 years ago.

       2006 Operating Budget for Jail, does not include heating for facility = $6,416,331

Their monthly cost $534,694.25

They are a rural county with a population of 105,000 people….

Talked to Legislator & Chairman of Protection Services Terry Intrary.
Talked to Under Sheriff, Peter Convry

Legislator Intrary said for them 15 years ago was good money maker since many of the adjacent
counties didn’t have facilities large enough plus their close proximity to Long Island allows them
to take in many of their prisoners but it would not be wise to build now to make money by
Boarding In Prisoners and would not advise us to do this especially if we have Oneida County
next door that is much larger than we are. It would be better to continue and pay to Board Out
prisoners rather than building a much larger facility with the high likely hood that it would not
be filled.
Under Sheriff Convry said that they had a similar situation to ours with a smaller 30 bed facility
and added on two double pods of 46 and 52 beds each making their present facility 128 beds. He
suggested we should be able to do the same. Based on our population and what our present
situation is he feels we should be able to build an 80-100 bed facility which would be sufficient
for our needs and population, not a 130-160 bed facility.

                       Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
Washington County
Built a 156 Bed Facility in 2004.

       2006 Total Operating Budget for Jail = $4,191,880

Their monthly cost $349,323.33

Their population: 62,000 people

This county was in an extremely good financial situation where they only needed to borrow
$3,000,000 over a 20 year period to finance the project which is not included in above figures.

Talked to Kevin Hayes -- County Administrator.
Talked to Chris Boucher – Pre Trial Coordinator

Mr. Hayes painted a rosy picture by saying they are making good money by Boarding Prisoners
In and financially has been very profitable for them.
Mr. Boucher who initially wanted to build the Jail, now has regrets because it has ruined their
rural area by bringing in Drug & Gang Problems where they once had none. With all the outside
inmates they Boarded-In, families of these offenders moved in as well, causing many problems
they did not have before. He said do not build it in a populated area.

Chautauqua County
Built 211 Bed Facility and presently expanding to 314 Beds
        They spend 8 million dollars a year on total Jail operations.

Their monthly cost $666,666.00

Their population: 137,000 people.

Talked to Legislator James Caflish.

Comments from Legislator Caflish:
It would have been better to have continued to pay and Board out prisoners than to have built a
jail if they had known then what they know now.

                       Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
Essex County
Just completed on September 15th, 2007 a 120 bed facility.

        They spent $29,500,000 for Construction + $4,000,000 for equipment & furnishings.
        They will be paying roughly $200,000.00 per month which does not include operating
costs or utilities.

They will be raising Property Taxes and/or Sales tax to pay for the Bond.
They do not know their operating budget since it is too early to tell. They presently have 31
inmates and their population is 38,851 as of the last census.

Talked to Lohr McKinstry, Bureau Chief from the Press Republican North Country’s largest
newspaper who has been covering this project since 1988 and is more informed than the Essex
County Board of Supervisors seem to be.
Also Talked to Purchasing Agent/Accountant, Jim Pierce

Mr. McKinstry said it looks like that it would have been less costly to continue to Board out
rather than having to have built this Jail. The Board of Supervisors did not want to fight the
Commissioner Of Corrections even though the majority of the public was against the project.

                       Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
Herkimer County (OUR FACILITY)

Estimating Future Monthly Costs of New Facility:

We are currently paying $3,400,000 per year now for Operating Expenses on our present 41 bed
Jail or $283,333 per month.

Bonding $25,000,000 for the new facility for 20 years at 4.5% is $1,860,000 per year or
$155,000 per month.

Total so far ($283,333 + $155,000) $438,333 per month.

Savings of $760,000 for Boarding Out per year or
$63,000 per month. ($438.333 - $63,000) $375,333 per month.

Savings of $1,530,000 per year due to ¼% Sales Tax increase or
$127,500 per month. ($375,333 - $127,500) $247,833 per month we still have to make up

Also this $247,833 does not take into account the additional operating cost and expenses for a
facility that is roughly 4 times our present size. It would be safe to assume at least another
$100,000, conservatively, between additional utilities costs, additional hires such as ground
maintenance, etc. for this much larger facility.

To be more accurate you can look at Washington County who has built a facility approximately
the size we are looking to build, their monthly cost is basically just operating expenses for a 156
bed Jail. Take their cost of roughly $349,000 per month on operating expenses and add the
$155,000 per month for the Loan amount and our cost is $504,000 per month for this facility.
Granted, Washington County does have Board In’s which generates an average of $87,989 per
month (2004 Statistic, now is closer to $100,000). Even if we could do some Board–In’s it might
take months or years and keep in mind we would be competing with Oneida County. Assuming
we Board-In enough prisoners to generate the $100,000 savings we are still looking at a monthly
cost of $404,000 ($504,000 - $100,000) for this new facility.

Savings of $760,000 for Boarding Out per year or
$63,000 per month. ($404,000 - $63,000) $341,000 per month.

Savings of $1,530,000 per year due to ¼% Sales Tax increase or
$127,500 per month. ($341,000 - $127,500) $213,500 per month we still have to make up…

We will need to make up approximately $213,500 per month. How are we going to pay for
this additional cost every month? Every county we have spoken to has had to increase
property taxes to a certain degree…..
Even though this is a rough cost it gives us a very good idea what we can expect.

                       Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
Keep in mind this does not take into consideration cost over-runs which usually do occur.

Simple Basic fact: Would it not be better to pay $63,000 per month in Boarding Out fees rather
than pay a $155,000 mortgage payment per month in Principal & Interest to build this new
facility……And at the same time look into the root cause of the overcrowding and address that
issue by putting in place alternatives to incarceration such as the Under Sheriff from Putnam
County told me the use of Ankle Bracelets / Electronic Monitoring….

                       Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
                       Root Cause Of Our Jail Overcrowding

 Most people in Herkimer County are not aware that Herkimer County ranks in the
      top 3 Counties in the State out of 62 Counties for Unsentanced Inmates.
 (Click Following Links to See State Data: SCOC MONTHLY REPORT0001 &
                          SCOC MONTHLY REPORT0003)
 For this reason alone it becomes obviously clear that this is the root cause of our
  problem and the reason for our Jail overcrowding. If at any one time we have a
  100% unsentanced status (Which has happened) it is naturally going to cause a
back log of inmates. This in itself is a violation of the 5th Amendment of the United
States. Even LaBella Architects point this issue out in their January 6th, 2006 report
                              in section 3 page 11 stating:
  “Unfortunately, a large segment of the public and even many Jail practitioners
    appear to be oblivious to the Fifth Amendment prohibition against pre-trial
    punishment. The Supreme Court’s May 1980 decision in Bell V. Wolfish is
 explicit in its interpretation of the Fifth Amendment to prohibit the imposition of
any condition of confinement on pre-trial prisoners for the purposes of punishment.
  Most pre-trial punishment advocates back down when they are confronted with
 the illegality of their position and veil their position with such comments as ”we
can’t make it too nice for them can we?” or “ we can’t make a country club out of
                      the Jail” and ”Jails need to look Jail-like”.

With this said the problem with our overcrowding is that our Judicial system is too
  slow. It is logical to say that if we processed our prisoners faster through our
  system we would reduce our overcrowding substantially and at the same time
incorporate “Alternative Methods To Incarceration” such as expanding the use of
    Ankle Bracelets and other programs. We can assume we can cut our Jail
 population in half at which point our present facility could be sufficient and the
                  need for building a new Jail would be nullified.

                    Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
                      Electronic Monitoring/Ankle Bracelets

Unknown to most of us Herkimer County does have a program in place called the
                          “Electronic Monitoring Program”
   The Herkimer County Probation Department has been operating an Electronic
Monitoring Program for criminal offenders since the fall of 2003 and includes the
      use of a remote alcohol-testing unit called a “Sobrietor”. The Electronic
   Monitoring Program provides the Courts and Criminal Justice System with an
 enhanced method for sentenced offenders and an Alternative to Incarceration for
 select pre-trial defendants. The primary focus of the program is to advance public
 safety and enhance offender and probationer control. While increasing protection
 for the community, electronic monitoring can assist in managing the county’s jail
                                  inmate population.
 The Electronic Monitoring Program provides a system whereby offenders can be
ordered to a period of home confinement. The home confinement is electronically
    monitored by the use of a transmitter worn by the offender (Called an Ankle
 Bracelet) and a receiver which is connected to a phone line monitors the presence
or absence of an offender within a specified range. The information is compared to
specified schedule restrictions as set by the Probation Department to determine the
                                offenders compliance.
    The Sobrietor is a remote alcohol-testing unit that is installed in an offenders
 home. The Sobrietor monitoring unit is attached to a telephone line and measures
   specific breath alcohol content (BAC). The frequency of an offender’s BAC is
      tested and a monitoring report is received by the Probation Department.
During 2006, the Electronic Monitoring Program was enhanced to include the use
            of Global Positioning System (GPS) monitoring of offenders.

                         Our Statistics of the program:
        Information Provided By Herkimer County Probation Department

 During 2004, there were 29 offenders court ordered to the Electronic Monitoring
  Program. This resulted in 1912 Jail Days saved x $95.00 per day, with a cost
              savings of $181,640 to Herkimer County Taxpayers.

 During 2005, there were 50 offenders court ordered to the Electronic Monitoring
Program. This resulted in 3377 Jail Days saved, with a cost savings of $320,815 to
                           Herkimer County Taxpayers.

                   Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
 During 2006, there were 62 offenders court ordered to the Electronic Monitoring
Program. This resulted in 4261 Jail Days saved, with a cost savings of $404,795 to
                           Herkimer County Taxpayers.

   From January 1st to July 31st 2007, there have been thus far 43 offenders court
  ordered to the Electronic Monitoring Program. This resulted in 3681 Jail Days
  saved, with a cost savings thus far of $349,695 to Herkimer County Taxpayers.

Needless to say it is a growing program which save taxpayers a lot of money. Isn’t
it wise to expand this program by confining all minor offenders with misdemeanor
 / low level crimes to their homes. Most of our inmates are low level offenders not
hard core criminals and would qualify for this program. This should be given much
     more consideration since we can reduce our overcrowding considerably by
  enhancing this program. But this needs the support of all in the Criminal Justice
    System particularly the Judges and Lawyers. It would be wise to look into this
          before we go spending millions on constructing a new facility…

                 Other Counties who are using Electronic Monitoring

                                   Washington County:
Mr. Boucher Pre Trial Coordinator said the Electronic Monitoring Program has helped them
save a lot of money, they have 20-30 people per day on this program.

                                      Putnam County:
Under Sheriff Convry said the use of Ankle Bracelets / Electronic Monitoring has also been
saving them a lot of money….

                      Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
                                   Our Present Jail

 Built in 1978 it is a 41 Bed Facility. I have heard that it is old, antiquated and was
told by the Commissioner of Corrections himself “Your Jail is Crumbling”. This is
                    so far from the truth that it has very little merit.
Our Jail was inspected in March 2006 by C.T. Male Associates from Latham, New
York. They found two major problems and many minor maintenance issues such as
 cracks in the walls and electrical outlet covers removed. The two major problems
were the Ventilation System which was inadequate and the Recreation Area on the
   Roof which was causing the roof to leak. After spending $550,000 both these
     issues were resolved by replacing the Ventilation System and placing the
Recreation Area at Ground level, all maintenance issues were addressed as well. In
 fact as of June 2007 we have a “Certificate of Occupancy” for our Jail giving our
                              facility a clean bill of health.
 We were told by our legislators that we could not build or expand our present Jail
because the Commissioner of Corrections would not allow the expansion of a multi
  story Jail. At our August 8th meeting with the Commissioner we presented this
 question directly to him and we were told that this is not true. He pointed out that
  the Monroe County Jail, a 10 story facility and the Westchester County Jail are
                               both multi level structures.

    We again were told by our Legislators that our present Jail could not handle
  another story. How do they know? Nowhere in the C.T. Male report does it state
  there was a Structural Engineering Report done in order to see if our present Jail
   can withstand another floor. I contacted Mr. Vopelak at C.T. Male who did the
report and inspection on our Jail and he confirmed that there was never a Structural
Evaluation done in order to see if we can expand our Jail. I also thought it was very
   interesting that Putnam County had a smaller 30 bed facility and added on two
   double pods of 46 and 52 beds each, making their present facility 128 beds. We
                           could consider doing the same.

                    Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
                      The Proposed Size of Our New Facility

   130 Beds, Double Bunked To 160 Beds with the Capacity of expanding to 210
   Why do we need to build such a large facility when on average we have 60-65
   prisoners? First we must look at where these numbers came from. A report was
 issued in January 2006 by Labella Architects specifying future projected needs of
  our county and they came to the conclusion that this is what we will need by the
       year 2015. I find this very hard to believe since for the last 20+ years the
population in Herkimer County has been steadily dropping at the rate of about 150
 people per year who leave our area. We were told by Chairman Leonard Hendrix
  that it is the County’s intent to Board In prisoners specifically, Federal Prisoners
   from Homeland Security, in order to pay for the facility. From talking to other
  Counties regarding this, it has become obvious to us that this would be a gamble
      and there is no guarantee that we would have enough Board In’s to make it
     profitable, especially when we have Oneida County next door. We would be
competing with them since they are the ones who are taking in the majority of our
    prisoners and would have all these excess beds as well. Regarding the Labella
Report it is obviously flawed especially since this is the same firm who is doing the
 Environmental testing, Archeological testing and are the Architects designing our
   facility. It is obviously a conflict of interest to have the same firm write up the
        report of our needs when they have so much to gain from this project.

At this point we as Concerned Citizens cannot in any way justify or accept the
                    present proposed Jail Size of 130+ Beds.

 So, first and foremost, we would ask our Legislators to hire an independent firm,
 which has nothing to gain from this project in writing a new report in projecting
                                our future needs.

                    Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
                      The Commissioners Powers/Mandate

Please see the attached document “Part 7000 Legal Authority” which can also be
found on the Commissioner Of Corrections website at:
http://www.scoc.state.ny.us/pdfdocs/article3.pdf which details the commissioners

It is important to note that before we updated our present facility, the
Commissioner had the power to shut our facility down for Health & Safety
reasons, but since we spent $550,000 to update our facility we now have a
Certificate of Occupancy indicating compliance. The only problem we now have is
overcrowding; the Commissioner cannot shut us down for this. This is the same
situation that Tompkins County was in and refused to build a new facility and
instead decided it was better to continue to pay Board Out fees rather than paying
to build a newer much larger facility. This is the comment from the Chairman of
the Legislator from Tompkins County:

“We’re the ones in charge of the money raised from Tompkins County taxpayers.
They’re saying we have to build a jail to accommodate the number of prisoners
they think might be incarcerated 20 years from now. We think the number will be
significantly less. Well, it’s our money, and how it gets spent is our call, not
—Tim Joseph, Chairman of Tompkins County Legislature, D-Ithaca 13

                   Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
In 1998, Tompkins County began to study a possible expansion of
their 73-bed jail. In lieu of construction, the county decided to launch
a set of alternatives to incarceration programs. These programs,
including drug courts and a day reporting program, provided court
supervision and treatment to individuals while still allowing them to
reside in the community. They determined that the $1 million cost
to operate these programs would be far less than the cost of a new
facility. The State Commission of Corrections nonetheless began to pressure county
leaders to construct a new 160-bed facility.
Tompkins County officials were willing to accept a compromise and build a new 104-bed
jail with an internal structure, or “spine”, that would facilitate expansion to 196 beds if
necessary. Yet in a phone call with the county in February 2004, the commission told
county officials that the number of beds in the new plan was insufficient and that the
county should plan to build or renovate the jail to have no less than 160 beds. Despite
the fact that in 2004 the average daily population in the existing Tompkins County jail
was just 69 people, the commission predicted a large increase in the number of people
who would be in jail. They gave reasons that included past incarceration statistics as
well as any possible reforms to the Rockefeller Drug Laws, which they asserted could
swell local jail populations. The county, however, questioned the accuracy of the
agency’s projections. In an 8-to-7 vote, the Legislature ultimately decided that if the only
choice were to build the number of beds determined by the SCOC, they would pursue
reforms and alternatives instead of building a new jail. As stated by County Legislator
Tim Joseph, “I had reconciled myself to a 104-bed jail with the spine for 196 beds. The
[County] Legislature as a whole agreed on that. They (the commission) have eliminated
that option. The option they offer us now is a very big jail or nothing. Given that, the only
reasonable choice is not to build at all.
The announcement that Tompkins County would not build a new jail was met by a
punitive response from the State Commission of Corrections, which announced that the
county’s variances would be pulled and that their jail classification system would be
reordered to allow an even smaller capacity, forcing a greater number of individuals to
be boarded out.
Only after a state elected official intervened and a major New York State newspaper
called to ask the SCOC for their reasoning did the SCOC revoke their threat of a new
classification system. They did not, however, give Tompkins County back their
variances, which were pulled in December 2004.

                      Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
             The Commission of Corrections Legal Authority

                                                        CURRENT AS OF 1/17/07
                           PART 7000
                        LEGAL AUTHORITY
         (Statutory authority: Correction Law, §45(6))

Sec. 7000.1 Legal authority
Section 7000.1 Legal authority.
(a) Article XVII, section 5, of the New York State Constitution
provides that there shall be a State Commission of Correction
which shall visit and inspect all institutions used for the
detention of sane adults charged with or convicted of crime.
(b) Article 3, section 45, of the New York State Correction
Law defines the following as basic functions of the State
Commission of Correction:
(1) Promulgate rules and regulations establishing minimum
     standards for the care, custody, correctional treatment,
     supervision, discipline and other correctional programs
     for all persons confined in local correctional
     institutions; (Note: As used in this statute, the term
     local correctional institution means any county
     penitentiary, county jail, city jail, court detent ional
     pen, hospital prison ward, or town, village or county
(2) Aid in securing humane and economic administration and
     best sanitary conditions of the institutions subject to
(3) Investigate their management and conduct of their
(4) Approve or reject plans for construction or renovation.
(5) Collect statistical information with respect to the
(6) Close any of the facilities subject to inspection which
     are unsafe, unsanitary or inadequate to provide for the
     separation and classification of prisoners as required by
     law or which has not adhered to or complied with the
     rules and regulations promulgated by the commission.

               Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
                       Our Conclusion & Recommendations

1. First we ask that a new report be done on “Estimating Future Jail Population
   Levels And Housing Needs” for our County by an independent firm who has
   nothing to gain by writing this report. There is no justification for building the
   proposed size of 130+ beds for our county.

2. Until it is proven and shown otherwise that our present facility cannot be
   enlarged, updated and expanded, we cannot support the building of a new
   Correctional Facility anywhere in the County. Our recommendation would be to
   have a structural engineering report done by an independent firm who again has
   no other interest in this project and then decide if it is cost effective to expand
   our present facility. We have heard that by expanding where we are we would
   easily save $10 Million Dollars over building new elsewhere – The transporting
   of prisoners to the courthouse alone would save us thousands of dollars per

3. If it is shown that we must build a new Correctional Facility, then we must
   build where we can save the taxpayers the most money. We highly recommend
   any site that is County owned and would not involve purchasing additional
   land. An example of this is the Pumpkin Patch in Frankfort which is County
   owned, Environmental & Archeological Testing has already been done and
   approved. Water/Sewer will be available shortly. Sites like this would save the
   taxpayers millions of dollars.

4. At this point we would highly encourage the public’s input by putting up
   numerous sites and having a public vote so the public would have the final say
   as to where a new Jail should be built.

If we are truly a Democratic Society this would be the only real fair way to decide
this issue. We has Concerned Citizens would support what ever the outcome would

Besides all of the above; we can avoid Building a New Jail all together if we do the
                    Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County
                  How we can avoid building a Jail all together:

       With the Cooperation of the Judges and Lawyers in our Judicial System
expediting the offenders through our system quicker we would lose the distinction
of being the number one county in the state with unsentanced inmates thus making
our system more efficient. If we bring the unsentanced inmates count down we
would be able to free up bed space in our existing facility.
       At the same time expand our Electronic Monitoring Program to home
confine many of the misdemeanor/low crime inmates and only confine to our Jail
the violent and dangerous criminals. We can easily cut our inmate count by 50% or
Example: We have been averaging roughly 60 inmates all year long, that would
mean 30 would be in our Jail. Our facility holds 41 inmates; therefore there would
no longer be a need to board out prisoners and no need to build a new
facility…..Saving taxpayers millions of Dollars.

Our recommendation would be that our County Legislators ask the Commissioner
of Corrections for a one year moratorium on the idea of building a new Jail during
which time we can put a plan in place that would address the above two issues.
This plan would be reevaluated after one year.
This can only work with the Commitment of the decision makers in our Criminal
Justice System i.e.: the Judges/Lawyers….

We do have choices and if we work together with our local leaders we can do what
is best for our community and taxpayers.

                                    Prepared by:
                                   Joseph Chilelli
                                   Dated 10/24/07
                   Concerned Citizens For A Better Herkimer County

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