Dane County Board votes to fund jail consolidation

MADISON (WKOW) -- It's been years in the making, but on Thursday night a renovation and consolidation of the Dane County Jail are one step closer to happening. But the vote at the Dane County Board meeting didn't come without a battle. 

The meeting was a bit more calm compared to the last meeting where the project was brought up back in November of 2017. Still, some supervisors were interrupted with chants and claps from protesters. 

About 50 protesters were at the meeting. They chanted and wore shirts spelling out "Derail the jail." 

But in the end, county leaders voted to fund the $76 million project that will close two jail facilities and renovate the jail at the Public Safety Building in downtown Madison. 

Board members said the renovations are needed for a jail that is outdated and dangerous for inmates. 

"Just poor sight lines, old equipment that they have problems with the doors and just not the kind, you know, it was just the old school set up. I think corrections, the philosophy of corrections has moved way beyond what the design that we have on the sixth and seventh floor," said Paul Nelson, a Dane County Supervisor. 

But not everyone in the public agrees and during public comment, some threatened the political future of board members. 

"You should remove the jail from the funding. You should vote for housing services,mental health -- all of those situations so we're going to be letting folks know who is voting to support caging human beings in the upcoming elections," said protester Teddy Shibabaw. 

The project will also reduce the total number of inmate beds by around 100. 

For more on this story: http://www.wkow.com/story/37300635/2018/01/18/dane-county-board-votes-to-fund-jail-consolidation

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