Oswego County jail falls below capacity, but not for long

For the first time in nearly two years, the inmate population at the Oswego County Jail fell below capacity, but it was short lived.

Oswego County Undersheriff Eugene Sullivan told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon that the number of inmates housed at the Justice Center jail in Oswego was 158 on Monday and Tuesday. That is the capacity at the facility.

On Wednesday, however, the jail once again exceeded capacity and officials were forced to transfer two inmates to jails in neighboring counties.

It is a costly problem for Oswego County taxpayers who have shelled out more than $1.1 million to house inmates in outside facilities.

Sullivan says it appears that several measures to address the problem are showing signs of results. He says the county's Probation Department has stepped up its pre-trial release and alternatives to incarceration programs.

Sullivan says the courts and District Attorneyâ??s office are aware of the dilemma and are trying to move cases through the justice system more quickly. He also says the State Department of Corrections is taking control of parole violators who were often housed at local jails for weeks and months.

On October 15, State Senators Patty Ritchie and Michael Nozzolio held a high level meeting in Watertown with the sheriff's of Oswego, St. Lawrence, and Jefferson counties to discuss how jail overcrowding is costing local taxpayers millions of dollars. They are pushing for legislation that would require parole violators to be transferred to state prisons within 10 days.