‘What are we doing?’: Jail overcrowding sparks debate

by Carol Thompson

As more money had to be transferred to cover the cost of transporting inmates from the Oswego County Correctional Facility to other facilities, one legislator questioned the long-term plan to correct the problem.

During last Thursday’s meeting of the Oswego County Legislature, a resolution to transfer $200,000 to cover inmate costs sparked a debate when Legislator Jake Mulcahey asked what the long-term plan is to resolve the problem.

“I understand we are waiting on potential funding from the state, but I don’t know if that’s the answer. Looking ahead, where are we going?” Mulcahey asked.

“Are you questioning whether we want to build a bigger jail?” asked Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley.

Mulcahey said the county has spent nearly a million dollars on the problem. “We have to start looking at what we can do to be investing rather than dumping money on this,” he said.

The state requires the county to house state prison parolees who have violated parole, which adds to the overcrowding problem.

As of July 10, there were 20 parole violators housed in the county facility. Of those violators, 10 have local charges that will keep them at the jail until they have a hearing, according to Undersheriff Eugene Sullivan.

The hearings are held twice a month. “It’s a local process that takes time, Sullivan said Friday.

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