New $40M New York Jail Approaches Finish Line

By Lisa Kopochinski

HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y.—Work is substantially complete on the new $40 million Herkimer County Jail in Herkimer, a village located approximately 15 miles southeast of Utica.

The new county jail spans 74,000 square feet and is comprised of three inmate pods, a kitchen, medical suite, visiting area and jail administration. The pods will accommodate 130 beds with room for expansion if necessary in the future.

This new facility is replacing the current jail that was built in 1978 and holds 29 inmates. (The 42-year-old jail replaced the original jail that was built in 1834).

Once the new jail is completed and a certificate of occupancy is issued, the State Commission of Corrections will then inspect the facility.

On average, the County has had to board out 30 to 40 inmates daily to other facilities, which has cost taxpayers millions of dollars over the year. In building the new structure, the County is expecting to save approximately $700,000 per year.

In a statement, Herkimer County Legislature Chairman Vincent J. Bono said that once the county is given the go-ahead, the new jail can be occupied at half capacity for a temporary period of time. This includes prisoner transfers, placement of cameras and other matters.

“That’s to get the kinks out and make sure everything runs smoothly,” he said.

The new facility—which has 130 beds, but could house up to 155 inmates with double bunking—is expected to be operating at 100 percent capacity in approximately two to three months.

Work on the new jail initially began in November 2018 and continued through last winter. Originally scheduled for completion in this past July, the COVID pandemic caused delays to the construction schedule.

LaBella Associates is the architect on this project. Jersen Construction Group is the general contractor, and Gilbane Building Company was the construction manager. Other contractors involved in this project included Weydman Electric, DiGesare Mechanical, and J&K Plumbing.