Dutchess County Justice & Transition Center to Open $20M Under Budget
POUGHKEEPSIE NY—Dutchess County Executive William F.X. O’Neil joined Dutchess County Sheriff Kirk Imperati in announcing on Oct. 10 that the new Dutchess County Justice & Transition Center will open more than $20 million under budget later this year and is expected to significantly reduce annual operational costs compared to the former facility.
Sheriff Imperati said, “This new facility enhances the safety and dignity of both those who are incarcerated and our correctional team who work here. It is the result of the hard work of many people coming together to address long-standing problems. I am grateful to my predecessor Sheriff Adrian ‘Butch’ Anderson, as well as former County Executive Marc Molinaro and so many others for making the Dutchess County Justice & Transition Center a reality.”
The new DCJTC will meet the county’s needs for years to come. The 161,987-square-foot facility features a larger state-of the-art medical infirmary including a women’s medical unit with enhanced medical and mental health services; expansive classroom and programming areas; professional, industrial kitchen and laundry; and improved staff areas. The design incorporates substantially more natural light than the current facility and is fully climate-controlled, creating a better environment for both incarcerated individuals and the correctional officers charged with their care.
Dutchess County Executive O’Neil said, “The Dutchess County Justice & Transition Center is a testament to persistence—a legacy project. Dutchess County government has again demonstrated exceptional collaboration, multi-faceted expertise and a fierce determination to overcome challenges and implement solutions. There are so many aspects to this project—unique, progressive design; restorative justice strategy; careful budgeting and financial modelling and tracking; a highly complex construction plan and the ever-changing environment for criminal justice law; public engagement and the economic impacts on construction costs and material and labor availability – and now we stand at the finish line, ready to open this building and serve as a statewide leader for restorative justice.”
The project has been overseen by Dutchess County Public Works Commissioner Robert Balkind and County Public Works staff. Additionally, a transition team was appointed by Sheriff Imperati to provide input and guidance throughout the design and construction process and plan for the successful transition between the old and new facility. Key project contractors included LaBella Associates, Architect; Pike Construction Companies, General Contractor; Turner Construction Company, Construction Manager; and Black Creek Integrated Systems Corporation, Security System and Controls Contractor. Ricci Greene Associates served as Dutchess County’s owner representative throughout the project.
The project was undertaken with a Project Labor Agreement with the Hudson Valley Building and Construction Trades Council, the group said.
The contemporary design employs the innovative direct supervision strategy used nationally for inmate management, and housing unit design that minimizes the need to move people from place-to-place within the facility, minimizing risk and reducing the number of required correctional officers. Compared to 12 housing units with a separate recreational area in the old building, the new 328-bed facility features six housing units, each with its own recreational area, including one female unit and units specifically designed for the RESTART program. Enhanced security features, additional cameras and improved sight lines also add to the facility’s efficiency and help provide a safer, more appropriate workplace for the county’s valued Corrections team. These staffing and operational efficiencies will result in lower annual operating costs compared to the old facility, in addition to the savings the county has already reaped from reducing housing out costs and staff attrition.
Following years of developing the design, size and scope of the DCJTC, in partnership with leading experts in criminal justice and social work and with extensive community engagement, including evaluation of multiple site options, including the former Hudson River Psychiatric Center in the Town of Poughkeepsie; in March 2016, the Dutchess County Legislature, in a bipartisan vote, approved $192.2 million for the design and construction of the new facility – planned, at the time, for a capacity of up to 569 beds. The project planned for the demolition of most of the existing jail facility, except for the section built in 1995, which would be renovated and incorporated within the new building design. The plan required the original Sheriff’s Office building be demolished to make room on site. The new 56,000-square-foot Law Enforcement Center, with enhanced design efficiency and greater public access, was built at the site of the former Taylor Manufacturing building on Parker Avenue and was opened in 2019.