To the editor:
Voters in Onondaga County will decide on Nov. 7 whether the Jamesville Correctional Facility will remain under the management of the county executive, or will move to being under the management of the sheriff.
I would like to take this opportunity to explain the reasons that have led to this vote. Onondaga County is the last remaining County in New York State that splits the management of jail operations between the sheriff and the county executive. Presently the sheriff oversees the Justice Center, which is a holding facility for non-sentenced inmates, while the county executive oversees the Jamesville facility which houses inmates sentenced to a term of one year or less. Both facilities operate under the oversight of the New York State Commission of Correction.
By moving the management of the Jamesville Correctional Facility to the sheriff it would allow for more efficient use of bed space, reduce the likelihood of overcrowding and help prevent unnecessary costs to the taxpayers.
The greatest potential for savings comes from the enhanced ability to avoid overcrowding which can result in the required boarding out of inmates to facilities outside of Onondaga County. This has occurred in recent years. When boarding out inmates there is a daily fee per inmate charged by the holding facility of which the sheriff and county taxpayers must pay. The county has the ability to move inmates temporarily from the Justice Center to Jamesville, but unified control would give the sheriff greater flexibility to avoid overcrowding and therefore avoid unnecessary costs.
It is important to note that the two facilities would continue to be staffed by separate personnel, under separate bargaining agreements, but would be administered jointly by the sheriff.
This referendum item, Number 4, will be found on the back of the ballot in this year’s general election.
Onondaga County Sheriff