CGR’s 2017 analysis and recommendations related to the Tompkins County jail continue to have impact. Here is what county officials recently told us.
The County’s jail population has now settled into the 50s (down from the 90 or so we were housing during your study). The County is actually boarding-in now.
In hearing about these remarkable stats, it sure seems that not only were your programmatic recommendations effective, but you were spot-on in predicting that the jail population could actually shrink.
As so much of the good news about the County’s jail population relates to recommendations in your report, you and your team should feel very good about what you helped to accomplish. I know the process wasn’t always pleasant or easy, but it is clear in hindsight that the effort was worth it. Our community is reaping the benefits of your persistence on many levels. Kudos for providing such clear and effective advice to the County.
— Joe Mareane, Tompkins County Administrator, 2008-17
Response to our recommendations was swift and comprehensive. Strong leadership from the County Legislature and from other community agencies paved the way for investments needed to implement the core recommendations from the study.
The study recommended the county not build a new jail or expand the number of beds in its existing jail facility, but instead begin to implement the following inmate-reduction strategies and overall criminal justice reforms:
- Expand substance abuse assessments and expedite access to residential rehab treatment.
- Increase the impact of Pre-Trial Release.
- Expand the use of Electronic Monitoring.
- Expand the use of Misdemeanor Drug Court.
- Support creation of non-jail medical detox capacity.
- Restructure and strengthen existing re-entry programs to facilitate services and reduced recidivism for ex-inmates returning to the community.
Through high-quality execution of our recommendations, the county has not only reduced costs to taxpayers but also improved the justice process for residents, consistent with public safety.