WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Sedgwick County Commission has voted to turn its work release center into an annex jail.
Jail operations staff say the change will save taxpayers big bucks but before it can happen, a major remodel will need to take place.
Officials say they plan on changing the inside and outside of the building.
Brenda Dietzman says work release inmates currently walk freely down these halls. In time that and leaving the facility will change.
“Now we’re going to be keeping the people inside this facility so we have to make it a little more secure both inside and on the exterior,” said Col. Brenda Dietzman, jail operations.
She says by late summer inmates who are currently being housed out of the county will move here and the building will be a second jail.
Right now Dietzman says every inmate out of county is $35 a day so the move, she says, will save taxpayers about two million dollars a year.
“By having this facility, we’re going to be able to save that money,” said Dietzman.
Besides bringing inmates back, it will also give transport deputies an opportunity to work at the new jail.
But before this can happen, Dietzman says changes are needed.
“These windows there will actually be bars on the outside,” said Dietzman.
Changes to windows, doors, and ceilings are part of the construction to better secure the building. Staff will also be altering living spaces to prevent anyone from doing self harm.
“So any type of bar any type of things that we would have that someone could potentially use, we’re going to get rid of those,” said Dietzman.
Dietzman says low-level offenders will be at the new space, and they will start with about 150 inmates with potential to increase population from there.
People currently in work release will be out of the center in March and move to the Department of Corrections.
In terms of a price tag on construction, Dietzman says the estimate is one million dollars.