GF Jail Study Underway

GF Jail Study Underway Click to Enlarge

The Grand Forks County Board has approved a long-term comprehensive study on the future of the local correctional center. The analysis is expected to take a year - or longer - to complete and cost around 50-thousand dollars. Jail Administrator Bret Burkholder says the commission selected the ICON Architectural Group to compile the report.

Burkholder says the study will focus not only on the jail – but who is staying there and why. He says as they look at options they need to know who is in the facility.

Burkholder says changes in state law could mean more inmates at local correction centers around the state.

While expansion of the existing jail is a real possibility Burkholder says all options are on the table. He says it’s really about alternatives to incarceration.

In recent weeks the Grand Forks County Correctional Center has been averaging around 230 inmates – compared to 198 prisoners last year. The jail has 220 beds for the general population.

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Bismarck is expected to be one of four sites for a pilot program aimed to help people in the criminal justice system find addiction and behavioral health services.

The $7.5 million program will fund caseworkers to keep offenders on track.

The initiative is funded by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's biennial budget set aside for behavioral health.

The Corrections Department and the Human Services Department will accept applications from vendors later this month. Potential vendors that could hire caseworkers include treatment centers, health care providers and community organizations.

The pilot program is expected to launch in the fall. Programs also will launch in Devils Lake, Fargo and Dickinson.

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