Brown County Seeks State Funding for Regional Jail

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ABERDEEN, SD (Dakota News Now) – The Brown County Commission purchased a building on Industrial Avenue on the northeast side of Aberdeen for $4.5 million earlier this spring, but they will look to l state to fund renovation costs to turn it into a regional prison.

The regional jail is intended to address capacity issues faced by the current Brown County Jail, which holds 48 inmates.

“We usually go over that amount. It can be a couple, six or eight, it depends on the day,” Brown County Deputy Chief Dave Lunzman said.

Lunzman says surrounding counties are facing similar issues and are calling on Brown County for help.

“Anyone in a hurry is always calling. Of course, the federal system calls us every day asking for space as well,” Lunzman said.

Those counties could also use the regional jail, but they are also being asked to help fund the renovation, which could cost up to $25 million.

The problem is that those counties might not have the funds to help either.

“Until the day they have to decide whether to give us money or not, I don’t think anyone will know, including themselves, because they’ll have to dig deep, just like we’re going to have to dig deep,” he said. Lunzman said.

The other option is state funding.

A Regional Jail and State Correctional Plans Study Committee has $70 million to potentially allocate to projects like the Regional Jail, but funding is also available for other projects and current facilities in the state. ‘State.

Of the 15 study members, three are from Brown County. Lunzman says the sheriff’s office was heavily involved with the review committee.

“We’re the ones who are going to execute it afterwards, so we have to be involved,” Lunzman said.

The regional jail is nearly 170,000 square feet and could triple the number of beds available for Brown County inmates. This space could also provide room for more programs for inmates.

“There are so many opportunities there that we don’t have here. We ran out of space for other programs. Even for the church sometimes, there are people here. There, we would have the opportunity to do more things for the inmates. It’s easily accessible. It’s a bit outside the city limits. The building itself gives us plenty of space to spread out. We will no longer be cramped. Everything is linear instead of vertical. We can hopefully put a courtroom there, so we can keep everything in one building,” Lunzman said.

The Brown County Commission will have to generate 40% of the funds, or $12 million, by April 1, 2023. If they don’t succeed, they will sell the building on Industrial Ave.

The summer study will come to Aberdeen to inspect the current prison and the possible new regional prison on July 20.

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