The Chippewa County Jail has undergone many changes over the years. Unfortunately, the jail population across the country has risen dramatically over the past fifteen years and Chippewa County is no exception. The average daily population in 1992 was 29 inmates per day. The average daily population in 2008 was 158 inmates per day of which 116 were Chippewa County inmates and the remaining 42 were inmates from other jurisdictions which were boarded here for a daily fee.
The original jail on this site was constructed along with a Sheriff’s residence in 1949. That jail had a capacity of 18 secure inmates. The Sheriff ceased residing in the residence structure in about 1979. The house was turned completely into offices for Sheriff’s personnel as well as a dispatch center while the jail continued to be used. In 1985, a Huber work release dormitory was added that increased the capacity of the jail to 42 inmates. In 1992, an addition was completed that raised the capacity of the jail to 79 inmates. In 2002, a large addition was completed that raised the capacity of the jail to 201 inmates. Today’s jail is about 60,000 square feet on three floors.
This addition included for the first time a complete kitchen facility. Additionally, the new facility also enabled complete comprehensive classification of inmates. A series of questions are answered on each inmate and they are then placed in a unit with other inmates that are similarly classified. Inmate classification was mandated by the state in 2006. The current jail has seven major, three minor and six special needs housing areas on its second and third floors. The total capacity of the upper two floors is 101 inmates. These inmates are housed in what is known as a podular jail design. A master control center staffed constantly by one jail officer controls this area as well as movements throughout the jail. The master control is located in the “center of the pie” so to speak with the inmate living units located in a circle around the master control. All inmates are directly visible to the officer in the master control pod. This area also has three rooms where education and religious classes can be held as well as seven video visiting booths for inmates to visit their families via camera.
The main floor consists of a large two door sally port where prisoners and supplies are brought in, a complete booking area, pre-booking area, interview rooms, property storage, linen storage, ten receiving cells, administrative offices, medical facilities including an exam room, office, waiting room, medications storage and medical records storage rooms; visiting facilities, and seven different dormitory living areas for inmates with a total capacity of 100 inmates. The jail kitchen is also located on the main floor as is the main heating plant for the entire courthouse facility. The jail kitchen is run by a contract vendor and in 2008 supplied 162,238 meals to inmates and currently supplies senior meals to the county Department of Aging and Jury meals as well. The kitchen was designed to be able to handle a future addition to the jail if that should become necessary. The site plan also contains provisions for adding on to the jail in the north parking area in the future and integrating the total facility together without adding a lot of new basic infrastructure.
The jail is currently staffed to handle a daily population not in excess of 158 inmates per day. It can handle temporary influxes up to about 190 inmates per day. The jail is obviously staffed 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Staff consists of seventeen jail officers, one Huber law officer, one full time transport officer (the jail coordinates all inmate and court ordered mental health transportation which averages about three transport requests per business day both locally and state wide as well as extraditions from other states), six part time transport officers that are called as needed, one half time program director, five Sergeants, one Lieutenant, one half time and one full time registered nurse, one contract medications nurse, one contract jail doctor, one half time clerical secretary, one full time clerical Administrative Assistant, and one full time Jail Administrator.
The jail budget for 2009 is $3,169,394. Of this amount, $990,145 is covered by boarding prisoners, Huber fees, and other revenue sources so that $2,179,248 is actually levied from county taxes
The jail is run under the constitutional authority of the Sheriff. There are 72 county jails in the state of Wisconsin. The jail is an integral part of the criminal justice system It receives prisoners on fresh arrests from all law enforcement agencies within the county. It also holds prisoners who are doing sentences as ordered by the circuit court. Such sentences typically can range from a few days up to one year in length. Also, persons who are awaiting trial on criminal charges and who are unable to post bond are held until their court proceedings are completed.
The jail must be able to deal with all types of people often under very difficult situations. Increasingly, many inmates have extensive medical and psychological needs which must be met by the jail personnel. The scourge of meth use has impacted our facility quite a bit but alcohol abuse remains the number one “drug” of choice among those we care for. The number of female inmates in jails and prisons has risen tremendously over the past fifteen years. Chippewa County is no exception. We hold anywhere from fifteen to thirty five female inmates on a given day. They tend to be in need of more services than the male inmates as they are often the victims of emotional and physical abuse as well as having addiction and medical issues as well.
Our mission is to serve the community by helping to enhance its safety while at the same time seeking to care for those individuals who are housed in the jail. Extensive programming is provided to help offenders turn their lives around if they choose to do so. Anyone desiring more information is urged to contact the Jail Administrator at 715-726-7705.