Marathon County Courthouse Project Still Unclear, Jail Wants Renovation

By: Al Knox - Email
By: Al Knox - Email

The debate continues over what to do with the Marathon County Courthouse, and the jail it houses.

The question is whether spending millions on the jail or using the money on other areas of the courthouse is the right move. It’s becoming a common sight at the Marathon County Jail, too many inmates and not enough beds. It was especially clear this Wednesday.

Marathon County Jail Administrator Bob Dickman says the issue has been ongoing for months. “We certainly could use more bed space. For instance, on days like today, we had 18 inmates come in and right now we don’t have an appropriate spot for each one of those people."

The jail can only hold 301 inmates, right now, they're at 311. What to do with the jail has been debated for months, whether to spend millions on upgrades in hopes of easing inmate overcrowding.

The Marathon County Executive Committee is looking at the issue. They met Wednesday afternoon to take up the topic again. Its meetings are so preliminary; leaders say they don't know yet if there will even be an upgrade to the courthouse, much less whether the jail would be the main focus of any improvements.

Jail leaders say they're running out of time to decide what to do with those who are serving time. Jail administrators say they're doing their best to deal with the overcrowding by sending inmates to other jails - like Lincoln County’s. But that costs Marathon County money too.

If the idea of an expansion is shot down, leaders say there still needs to be some serious changes made to their part of the building.

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