County Jails In Northern Wisconsin Work To Keep Up With More Inmates

Full Facilities Stretch Budgets, Raise Safety Concerns

Aimee (CC-BY)

Some county jails in northern Wisconsin are seeing more inmates, causing safety concerns and leaving counties weighing costly options.

Ashland County Administrator Jeff Beirl said the county jail has seen a 20 percent uptick in inmates each year.

“We may maximize the number of prisoners and have to look at an expansion of the jail,” he said.

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The 65-bed facility is so full, Beirl said, that they’ve been boarding some inmates in neighboring counties.

In Douglas County, Jail Administrator Robert Galovich said they’re also booking more inmates at their 219-bed facility than a decade ago.

“I think a lot of it would be repeat offenders getting longer sanctions and time on the books,” he said.

According to Galovich, that means less money for the county from leasing out beds and more safety concerns with keeping some inmates apart.

Beirl said drug-related crimes like meth use are playing a role in Ashland County’s space and budget constraints.

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