Voters could decide Delaware County Jail expansion proposal

Space, security issues plague aging facility

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Plans for a larger and more secure Delaware County Jail could be up to county voters this spring.

County supervisors have been more actively calling for a $4 million expansion to the jail in Manchester since last fall. Supervisors hope to put a bond issue on the ballot this May.

Space is limited inside the nearly half-century old jail. With only 12 cells, deputies send several inmates to the west.

"Right now we have 6 people in the Buchanan County Jail," county supervisor Jeff Madlom said. "Our bill was $8,300 for the month of January. "

In November, inmate Timothy Reynolds escaped from the jail after he hit a deputy with a telephone, stole the deputy's keys and then his car. Several weeks later, authorities caught Reynolds in Indiana. Supervisors say a new jail would mean technology to ensure that kind of escape couldn't happen again.

"If they (deputies) got overpowered, (inmates) could not get out because (cell doors) would have to be opened by the person at the control panel," said Madlom.

Jailers would replace keys with an electronic system. Only a dispatcher could authorize a request to open jail doors. It's all part of the proposal county leaders plan to roll out over the next few weeks.

"People have to know what we want to do and how the jail will look before they can make a second decision," Madlom said.


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