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Herkimer County Legislature Chairman Vincent Bono Talks About The Herkimer County Jail

Photo Credit: Gino Geruntino

The Herkimer County jail situation may be closer to resolution.

Herkimer County Legislature chairman Vincent Bono spoke with WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning to talk about a decision that is expected from the appellate court.

A new jail in Herkimer County was mandated by the state, Bono says, although some question whether a mandate was actually put in place, or whether it was an official suggestion.

The jail was shut down by the state in May of 2006.  County officials were told that they could only hold four inmates in the current jail because of problems with the design and efficiency of the facility.

The county applied for a variance and said it would do the work necessary to maintain the jail to host inmates near the maximum capacity, which Bono says was about forty-one individuals.   In July of 2006 Bono says Herkimer received a letter saying that the county “shall” devise a plan for a new jail.  He says they sought a facility that was close to the courthouse and negated the need for excessive travel and transportation-related expenses.  They looked at properties in the Town of Herkimer and outlying areas.

The county applied for the necessary permits.  Bono said the city then attempted to change the zoning for the area, essentially keeping the jail out.  The court ruled in the County’s favor but the town is now appealing that decision.

In the meantime, Bono asserts, the County is paying between $95-$105 per day to house prisoners at another facility, and that does not include transportation costs caused by the transfer of prisoners between courts and other facilities.

The case is now before a five-member panel in Rochester, New York.  He says they expect a decision as early as September, but possibly as late as November.  That decision is still subject to appeal, however.

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