If Voters Approve, Burleigh/Morton Counties Could Build New Dete - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

If Voters Approve, Burleigh/Morton Counties Could Build New Detention Center

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It's no secret Bismarck and Mandan have grown in the past few years. So has the number of inmates.

Currently, both the Burleigh and Morton county detention centers are at capacity..

That's why voters will decide whether to help build a new, combined jail facility in one week.

Macy Egeland has more on the possibility of this new jail.

"We're out of bed space in both Burleigh and Morton county," Sheriff Pat Heinert said.

More inmates are coming in, on average twenty a day.

"In the last 5 years we've spent about $1.7 million on housing inmates outside of our three facilities," Sheriff Heinert said.

Sheriff Heinert says they have to transport inmates to different counties almost every day because they've run out of room here.

He says, on average, Burleigh County residents are paying to house thirty inmates outside of the two existing detention centers.

That's why for the past eight years he's been pushing for a new, combined Burleigh and Morton county detention center.

"My main reason for looking at this and promoting this is safety of the community. Right now with all the transportation of inmates we're doing we're creating some safety risks," Sheriff Heinert said.

But it will come at a price--$69.9 million to be exact.

On June 10th both Burleigh and Morton counties will vote to either approve or deny a half cent sales tax increase to pay for the new facility.

It would be located off of Expressway, just south east of the penitentiary.

It would be a 199,000 square foot building with 476 beds--nearly 300 more that Burleigh and Morton jails have combined.

"They're so crowded, cramped in.  There's not enough square footage for them to deal with issues they have to deal with," Sheriff Heinert said.

So the bottom line is this: if Burleigh and Morton county voters both approve, the tax collection and building will begin October 1st and the new facility should be complete in 2 and a half years.

If one approves and the other doesn't, or if neither county is willing to pay the half cent tax increase, the detention centers will have to figure out a way to expand separately and in the meantime, continue transporting inmates around the state.

In Bismarck, Macy Egeland KX news..

Along with the new, combined detention center they would also use $4 million dollars to renovate both existing detention centers into office space, interview rooms and court holding rooms.

The Burleigh and Morton county Sheriff's Departments are holding a public forum at the Bismarck Public Library tomorrow night at p.m. if you'd like more information.

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