SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The approval of a $46 million bond has cleared the way for an expansion of the Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls. County commissioners approved the financing on Nov. 22 to increase the size of the downtown jail as well as make improvements to its overall security.
The project will expand the existing 400-bed jail by 320 additional beds and provided much needed space for processing and intake operations. The new construction will take place on the east side of the existing Minnehaha County Jail, which is also used by neighboring counties to house their overflow inmates.
Efforts have been underway to expand the facility, which is currently over capacity, for more than four years. Originally, county leaders had sought to add 400 maximum-security beds to the facility; however, thanks to county programs and incarceration alternatives that number was decreased. The jail continues to complete between 18,000 and 20,000 bookings annually.
“We routinely run very, very full and are working between trying to find inmates houses within the jail that we’re able to classify to house at the Corrections Center,” Minnehaha County Jail Warden Jeff Gromer said in an interview with local NBC affiliate KDLT News.
Milstead also told KDLT that although the county has made great efforts to get low-risk offenders out of jail, the need for secure jail beds continues to rise. However, the addition will allow the county to replace the aging Community Correction Center that provides housing for low-risk inmates while still netting nearly 100 new beds.
“When we get the new one designed and finalized, it’s going to be far safer for both the inmates that are coming and the staff that are working there, and the community as a whole,” Gromer added in an interview with local ABC affiliate KSFY on Nov. 22.
The new expansion, which will also include a new sallyport and an increased security infrastructure, is expected to be operational by the end of 2019.