Jail Plans

By: Anna Wagnild
By: Anna Wagnild

While Eau Claire County considers new jail proposals, they may look to other surrounding counties who have built new jails in the past decade.
Barron, Polk, Chippewa and Clark had all housed inmates in other counties before building new facilities of their own.
Dunn County has leased bed space to other counties since the facility opened in 1999 and in the first five years, earned almost $8 million, part of which was returned to the county's budget.
The jail is secure enough to allow inmates to walk unescorted, and has an elevator leading to a secure hallway separate from the public hallway in the courthouse.
"I just don't think they're ever going to outrun the number of inmates that will increase," says Sheriff Dennis Smith. " I think our only chance is to reduce the number of inmates coming in and or the social issures that lead them to be there."
The sheriff sasys one of the biggest assets of a newer building is to have classroom space to teach life skills classes, which he says can help inmates have a higher chance of success once released.


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