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BREAKING NEWS

All moved in — finally!

By Staff | Oct 26, 2009

The new Faribault County Jail on A.R. Russ Drive near Interstate-90 is officially open.

Months and months of preparation and anticipation of the “big move” came to an end Wednesday when dispatchers and inmates were moved from the old jail.

Now that they are in their new facility, Sheriff Mike Gormley and jail administrators are busy working on another project — getting inmates from other counties to fill some of the beds.

“We’re looking at increasing our revenue anyway we can, as well as reducing spending,” says Gormley. “We’ll take as many as we can handle.”

The sheriff estimates housing the inmates could generate more than $350,000.

Jail assistant administrator Joe Anderson says the new jail has 67 beds, but the state Department of Corrections recognizes 60 for prisoners.

Of that amount, says Anderson, no more than 80 percent may actually be used.

Gormley says negotiations with Martin and Freeborn counties have been in the works the past several months.

“Both counties are anxiously awaiting our opening,” says Anderson.

Because Freeborn County has contracted with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to take federal prisoners, Anderson says they are looking for a jail to send their female inmates.

Currently, of the 19 inmates at the new jail — three are female.

Gormley says one pod at the facility will hold 12 female inmates, however, other cells could be used if necessary.

On Tuesday, the sheriff met with a federal probation official.Jail administrator Geary Wells says the federal inmates are those who usually have two to six months left on their sentence.

“We’ll act like a halfway house. We’ll allow them to go out and look for a job,” says Wells.

“They’ll come here and try and work their way back into society,” adds Gormley.

On Tuesday, Faribault Counties commissioners needed to approve “change order” expenses for the jail totaling slightly more than $23,000.

Board chairman Tom Loveall told Gary Otterstad of Construction Analysis and Management and architect Steve Johnson he understands “unexpected expenses” are a part of any construction project.

“There’s no free lunch. I’m hoping we put this thing to bed,” says Loveall.

The board also approved a bid of $2,650 from Mankato Refrigeration Systems, Inc. to install the walk-in freezer/cooler at the new jail.

Gormley says local businesses were contacted to submit bids, but no written proposals were received.

The contractors he talked to, he says, were either not interested, couldn’t handle the job or were higher priced.