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Bail reform's impact on new Genesee County Jail

Posted at 11:32 PM, Feb 21, 2020

BATAVIA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Genesee County plans to have a new jail in Batavia by 2022, but how many inmates will the jail need to house? That's the $60 million question that officials said was made tougher by bail reform, according to reporting by Rochester affiliate 13 WHAM.

The current Genesee County jail is nearly 120 years old. County officials told 13 WHAM the building is inadequate at meeting the needs of inmates. Officials said the new building will be able to provide inmates with educational programs, and better mental health and medical care.

One major change, is that the new jail will include female inmates. They'll no longer be sent to other jails. Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron said that will help the county save money.

"We spent upwards of $850,000 last year housing inmates out, that's just housing costs," he said. "That doesn't include the man hours that are dedicated to the transportation.

Genesee County Assistant Manager Matt Landers said they've already downsized their plans for the new jail, since bail reform went into effect.

"With the bail reform legislation that was passed, we scaled it back even further to 184 beds at four pods, versus the 200 bed five pod design that we were looking at just nine months ago," Landers said.

Erie County jails have seen a decline in inmates. A bail reform report from the Erie County Comptroller's Office said the Erie County Holding Center had about 100 fewer inmates this January compared to last. The Alden Correctional Facility had 67 fewer. According to the report, both are operating at hundreds of inmates below capacity.

Governor Andrew Cuomo defended bail reform in last month's State of the State, but did admit there may need to be some bail reform, reform. In his address he said there are "consequences that we have to adjust for."