By Tim Kowols
Kewaunee County is making sure it is taking its time when it comes to developing its new jail. Sheriff Matt Joski first started the process close to three years ago by asking the National Institute of Corrections for help planning for an updated facility. Currently, the county is undergoing a Request for Qualifications process where it will consider the future facility’s needs, operational and architectural program, and schematic design. Joski says they are being deliberate to make sure they are doing it right the first time.
The RFQ draft could be approved later this fall by the Kewaunee County Board if it makes it through the Law Enforcement and Personnel committees. You can read the first in a series of Sheriff’s Corners with Joski concerning the future Kewaunee County Jail online with this story.
Over the past year I have written articles regarding some preliminary efforts related to the eventual update of our Jail facility, and wanted to share where we are from a planning perspective. In the fall of 2015 I had contacted the National Institute of Corrections to request assistance in the planning of an updated Jail facility. This organization is a federal entity that offers assistance at no cost to local communities related to justice system analysis and planning coordination.
In April of 2016, we were provided assistance through this organization to conduct a Justice and Jail Analysis. This process involved a thorough review of all components of our criminal justice process along with an evaluation of our current jail facility. The next step was our involvement in what is known as a “Planning of New Institutions” workshop. This workshop took place in January of 2017 and provided an opportunity to look at the various stages and considerations when planning for an updated correctional facility. Both of these efforts were valuable in setting the groundwork for consideration of next steps here in Kewaunee County.
As a result of the work we had completed, the recommendation was to develop an RFQ (Request for Qualifications) which specifies the scope of work which would be conducted on our behalf by a professional consultant. This RFQ will be separated into three phases. While there are numerous reasons for creating a phased approach to this project, the main one is to allow for a distinct pause at the conclusion of each phase so that a full report of findings can be given by the consultant. Also sufficient consideration can be given to the information provided from that specific phase before moving forward to the next phase which includes providing updates to the community and to allow for feedback.
The three phases of the RFQ are:
- Needs Assessment
- Operational and Architectural Program
- Schematic Design
Although there will be a vast number of considerations we will have to consider at each and every decision point, the issue of community support and awareness is by far one of the most vital. Regardless of what the data tells us or the information we gain by looking at trends and current legislation, the input we receive from our community is just as important as this facility will ultimately belong to the citizens of Kewaunee County and we want it to be something we can all be proud of.
Currently the draft for the RFQ is under review and will be brought before the Law Enforcement committee in August. Once approved by the Committee it will be sent to the Personnel Committee for their consideration and ultimately will come before the County Board. Again this is a request for qualifications which will ultimately result in the selection of a consultant who will guide us as we begin the planning process.
Over the next few weeks, I will go into more detail as to what each phase consists of. If you would like to review the report which resulted from the Justice and Jail analysis, it can be viewed on our website at www.kewauneesheriff.com
I will continue to add documents and information to our website under the “Updates on Study for New Jail Facility” link, and welcome any questions you may have.