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Dubuque Sheriff comes up with plans to renovate jail

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) – The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office is looking into ideas they would want to implement into renovating their jail.

Some of the structures of the jail date back to 1974. Including the diamond shaped cell bars and their locking system.

The last time the jail saw improvements was back in 2003, when they added some additional beds. However, Dubuque County Sheriff, Joe Kennedy, said that overcrowding  can become dangerous for both inmates and officers.

“You just get a lot more incidents of inmate vs inmate violence and things like that,” said Kennedy. “Because they have no room to move about without bumping into other people.

Sheriff Kennedy attributes some of the overcrowding due to an increase of violent crimes in Dubuque County. These inmates are waiting in the jail longer for their court dates.

“We don’t have control over who comes here as much as we do have control as to what happens to them while they are here,” said Kennedy. “So we’re kind of at the mercy of the court system when it comes to how full the jail gets.”

The Sheriff also wants to address issues for inmates with mental health problems. One of the goals include building a better facility for them.

“They’re either getting manipulated in the cell blocks by the inmates that they’re with,” said Kennedy. “Or if we have them segregated, then their mental health seems to deteriorate while here.”

Some other ideas include a decontamination room and a new holding area.

The Sheriff’s Office is currently working with a consultant to come up with a more formalized plan. That plan will later have to be approved by the County Board of Supervisors.

Ashley Scott

Reporter, Dubuque

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