The Tompkins County Legislature has approved a nearly 1 million dollar renovation and addition at the county jail to increase inmate capacity.
In an effort to reduce the county’s inmate board-out costs and move away from temporary state variances the lawmakers have voted in favor of converting an outdoor recreation area into inmate housing and constructing a new inmate recreation area.
According to Tompkins County Administrator Joe Mareane converting the little-used recreation space will provide seven additional beds at the jail.
Currently the Tompkins County Jail has a maximum capacity of 75 inmates, with temporary state issued variances the facility is allowed to house up to 95 inmates.
Over the past five years, the county has had to board-out inmates to other county jails. It costs the county $80 per inmate per day to house them in other facilities; in 2012 Tompkins County spent $244,000 to board out inmates at other jails, not including the associated transportation and overtime costs.