News Local/State

County Board Plans Extension for Receiving Jail Report


Champaign County Board members are granting a four-month extension for a consultant to complete a study of county jail needs.

The more than 200-page final document from California-based Alan Kalmanoff was expected in late May. 

But the decision to push the deadline for releasing it to September on a 10-9 vote in Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting was sought to include an upcoming report from a community justice task force.

Kalmanoff says planning the separate document, due next week, was behind the original report, and the two need to be synchronized. 

The extension will cost another $25-thousand on top of the initial $120-thousand, but he advised board members this action will save in the long run.

“Everybody’s sort of worried about a little more money for this time delay," he said.  "But the amount of money at stake in this project to be saved in the criminal justice system, which is half the county’s budget – and in the facilities that are coming – is millions and millions and millions.”

The task force has sought changes in areas more pertaining to social justice rather than jail facilities, such as better mental health facilities for jail inmates. 

The panel was critical of Kalmanoff’s initial draft report in a public meeting held May 2nd.

Tuesday night’s vote was largely along party lines, with most Democrats in favor, but Champaign County Board Chair Alan Kurtz says it’s still in question whether the 10-to-9 vote will hold up in the full board meeting a week from Thursday. 

He said the vote was a ‘mixed bag’ - more about finances than politics.