Study suggests Scott County needs to grow Jail and Juvenile Detention Center

DAVENPORT, Iowa - The Scott County Board of Supervisors heard a presentation following an assessment of the Scott County Juvenile Detention Center and the Scott County Jail on June 25.

The study, led by the county with Wold Architects and Engineers, had an objective of understanding how Scott County Jail and the Juvenile Detention Center could be responsive and cost effective as they continue to grow.

[Click HERE to view the full presentation]

Research presented showed an increase in population at both of the facilities over the past ten years.

The growing population means there is a need for more beds and more staff in both the Juvenile Detention Center and the Jail.

The study suggests that the Juvenile Detention Center could need to grow from it's current number of 16 beds to 64 beds in the year 2037.

"That’s a pretty large number. 64 beds seems like a very large number," said Jeremy Kaiser, Director of Scott County Juvenile Detention Center. "With the amount of increase that we have had in recent years, it doesn’t surprise me that that would be the number in 20 years from now."

Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane said finding space for juvenile offenders in the county is a top priority of his.

Right now, because of overcrowding, many juveniles are being housed in other facilities. The sheriff said that's very expensive.

"I am also concerned that if we don’t do something soon, space for juveniles across the state of Iowa will run out. We will be without space for them, they will be released out into the public regardless of what their charges are," said Sheriff Lane.

Meanwhile, the study found that the adult jail is also projecting a need for expansion.

The projections show an additional 119 beds could be needed at the Scott County Jail by 2037.

"We definitely need more space within the Juvenile Detention Center and the adult jail," said Sheriff Lane.

While some of the findings presented during the meeting showed long-term projections, there were also some immediate concerns highlighted.

The study confirmed what Board Supervisor Ken Croken called, "the beliefs and impressions" of county staff who say the jail is understaffed.

At it's current size, the study recommended an additional 10 officers be hired full-time.

Sheriff Lane said it will be an initial priority to "get more staffing into the jail."

The board saw three basic expansion design plans that gave them an idea of what adding more space could look like.

Each one of the plans had a projected cost of $20 Million to $40 Million dollars.

Those expenses caused board member Ken Croken to speak up during the presentation.

He said the board needs to consider how money is being spent.

"My concern is not the plan to expand our ability to incarcerate people," said Croken. "My concern is the lack of a plan to reduce the needs to incarcerate people."

He suggests the county should focus more on preventing the need for incarceration.

Both Sheriff Tim Lane and Director of the Juvenile Detention Center Jeremy Kiaser pointed out that the county is working very aggressively on developing programs and plans that help to reduce the need for incarceration.

"The reality is the judges make the decisions as to who is detained and we are trying our best to try and divert them (the juvenile offenders)," said Kaiser. "We need space here locally where we can work with them and help re-integrate them back to their families."

No timeline or final plans are set to expand the jail.

The Scott County Board of Supervisors next meeting will be on Thursday, June 27 at 5:00 in the County Board Room at the Administrative Center in Davenport, Iowa.

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