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Legislature Considers New Criminal Justice Proposal Committee To Tackle Jail Issue

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The Cortland County Legislature will meet tomorrow (July 25) night for its monthly legislative session.

A resolution that was just added last night by Chair Kevin Whitney would create a new committee charged with conducting a vigorous and thorough analysis of the county’s criminal justice system and develop recommendations on a best-case scenario plan moving forward.

The Cortland County Criminal Justice Proposal Committee would consist of seven legislators:

  • Cathy Bischoff (Chair/Facilitator)
  • Kelly Preston
  • Beau Harbin
  • Ann Homer
  • George Wagner
  • Ron Van Dee
  • Paul Heider.

The committee may also call on other county employees to help develop these plans and recommendations:

  • Karen Howe, County Attorney
  • Mark Helms, Cortland County Sheriff (or designee)
  • Budd Rigg, Cortland County Undersheriff (or designee)
  • Mark Thayer, Director of Community Services
  • Nicole Albro, Probation Department
  • Dianna Claflin, Alternatives to Incarceration Coordinator
  • Chuck Miller, Buildings and Grounds Superintendent
  • Patrick Perfetti, District Attorney
  • Keith Dayton, Public Defender

Chair Whitney’s resolution asks that the final proposal is completed and brought to the Judiciary Public Safety committee on or before November 12. The full term of the Committee is expected to lapse on December 31 unless discharged by the Chairman of the Legislature prior to that date.

Recent reports from CRS, Inc. and the Vera Institute of Justice confirm that overpopulation is a major issue at the jail and will be well into the future unless steps are not take to improve it.

If approved, the Criminal Justice Proposal Committee will report its activities and progress on a monthly basis to the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee and full Legislature.

Tomorrow night’s legislative session begins at 6 p.m. at the Legislative Chambers of the County Office Building, 60 Central Avenue in Cortland.

The meeting will begin with communications from various municipalities regarding participation in the County Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program.

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