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Statement from Chairman of the Legislature Rob Rolison

Published: 5/13/2014

For More Information Contact:

Catherine Durland, (845) 486-2103

Last night the Dutchess County Legislature approved a bond resolution of $6.5 million to fund temporary housing units, known as PODS.  I am grateful to my colleagues that participated with bipartisan support to address the jail overcrowding issue. The installation of the PODS will allow us to bring our inmates back to Dutchess County.  As long as we have inmates boarded out in other counties throughout the State, they are unable to receive the programmatic services they would only receive here in our custody. 

In 2013, the County expended over $6 million in “housing out” costs that went to other county jail facilities throughout New York State.  Our county has had to house out approximately 200 or more of our county inmates per day to other facilities throughout the State. Without the action taken by this Legislature those costs would continue to increase resulting in continued taxpayer dollars going to other counties.  The installation of the pods will save approximately $ 1 million a year in operational costs, will provide long term savings to the County and result in better services to our inmates as well as the safety of our Correctional Officers who have had to endure the unsafe practice of transporting inmates back and forth to these facilities every day. Having our inmates here on-site will allow us to fully evaluate the logistical, staffing and programmatic needs that come with housing our full inmate population.

In recognizing the importance of meaningful dialogue, I recently announced the formation of a Jail Advisory Committee comprised of key stakeholders including officials from both the City of Poughkeepsie and County government, Sheriff’s Office Leadership, Corrections Office Administration, and members of the Criminal Justice Council. The Jail Advisory Committee will, on an ongoing basis, receive updates from the Administration as well as the Criminal Justice Council on plans and operational details as they relate to our correctional facility and the overall criminal justice system in Dutchess County.

I would also like to acknowledge and thank the members of the public that have spoken during the public comment portion of the Legislative meetings on this issue.  We will continue to have dialogue, collaboration and information sharing that will make this an open and transparent process. Lastly, there is still more work to be done and the actions approved by the County Legislature Monday night are a move in the right direction that will lead to ending our jail overcrowding issue.