Regional jail resolve: Increase rate or inmates?

Jordan Crawford | 1/15/2014, 9:41 a.m.
The Hampton Roads Regional Jail is struggling with ideas on how to pay bills.

“That would cause the cost per inmate per day for the new jail to go up and would deplete valuable bond capacity that could be used for other projects,” he added.

In addition, if the regional jail expanded, the state would pay for 50 percent of the project. If it’s a city jail, the state would pay up to 25 percent.

How long would the two options take?

The regional jail project is about two years ahead of any planned Portsmouth jail because it has a plan on the governor’s desk.

Bill Wilson of the Department of Corrections’ compliance and accreditation unit says planners must submit two studies to the state.

They need to submit a planning study to examine costs and then a community-based corrections plan to look at the projected growth of the jail population.

Those studies must be submitted to the Board of Corrections by Jan. 1 of a given year. The board then makes a decision, which usually takes a year. If approved, it goes to the governor’s desk to be included in his budget.

The regional jail has completed those studies. If approved as part of the budget this year, the regional jail’s construction could begin by summer.

The Portsmouth City Council has yet to give the city jail the OK to conduct the studies, which would take about eight months to complete.

If the city wanted to start building a jail in 2016, the council would need to approve conducting the studies soon to get them before the Board of Corrections by Jan. 1.