SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Onondaga County Executive plans to consolidate the Jamesville Correctional Facility with the jail at the Onondaga County Justice Center.
Pending approval by the Onondaga County Legislature, this plan would result in the closure of the 40-year-old jail facility in Jamesville and move its inmate population and workforce to the newer facility in Downtown Syracuse.
The county executive listed multiple reasons for the decision that he says is best for inmates, deputies and taxpayers.
“We are lucky,” said McMahon, “that we can actually do this. Many communities don’t have two facilities where they can bring together the two teams and have one strong facility.”
Last month, the county executive said he received notice that a previously-settled lawsuit could be reopened if Onondaga County doesn’t meet its expectation to consistently get inmates to court and parole hearings.
Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway, who retires at the end of the month, admits that staff shortages are to blame for missed court appearances. He says attempts to recruit deputies have failed in recent years.
The county plans to back-fill staff shortages downtown with officers who move from Jamesville.
With space for 665 inmates, the Onondaga County Justice Center in Downtown Syracuse is only half full and allows plenty of space for the nearly 150 inmates currently in Jamesville.
Friday afternoon, Onondaga County Sheriff-Elect Toby Shelley criticized the plan.
“The decision to seek the closure of the Jamesville Correctional Facility under a lame-duck administration is highly questionable,” Local 834 President Dan Vadala said. “Our members have always invested in the success of the Jamesville facility, consistently outperforming the facility downtown, despite the County actively undermining the work our members do for the community every day.”