Becker County Staff Prepares to Move Into The New Jail

Becker County Staff Prepares to Move Into The New Jail Click to Enlarge

DETROIT LAKES, MN--Becker County Commissioners approved entering into a three-year agreement with MEnD Correctional Care to provide health and medical services to inmates at the Becker County Jail.

Becker County Sheriff Todd Glander says currently they utilize a nurse through the county-owned Sunnyside Nursing Home to provide the initial basic medical attention. The Sheriff says with the opening of the new jail which will house more inmates, including those from maximum and minimum security, hiring a professional correctional health service will streamline some of current inefficiencies of treating the incarcerated. The service agreement includes medical staff on duty 40 hours a week and a doctor on-call. The Sheriff says currently a nurse handles some of the minor health needs but an inmate is now taken to the clinic to be seen, or to the emergency room if it's urgent. In the new facility, what would typically be handled now at a clinic visit will be able to be taken care of at the new facility. Assistant Jail Administrator Chris Burton says the new jail is also more equipped to handle health care on site with patient rooms for examination and medial professionals to complete paperwork. The agreement also includes a mental health specialist up to four hours a week. The three-year contract agreement approved Tuesday is just under $196,000 ($195,700) annually with compensation increasing 2% in 2020. Commissioners also approved an amended food service management contract with Summit Food Service, formerly A'Viands. It's the same company currently handling the food service at the jail.

Meanwhile, Becker County Jail staff has been training as they prepare to make the move from the current jail in downtown Detroit Lakes over to the new facility just off north Highway 59. Jail Administrator Paula Peterson says staff is eager to move. She says training has gone great and staff is excited to transition to the new, larger facility. Peterson says it's been a logistical nightmare for the past few years due to lack of appropriate accommodations at the current downtown location and having to board inmates out at other jails and transporting them back and forth to court. Also boarding the minimum security inmates at a separate facility. She says it will be nice to concentrate services in one building.

Becker County Commissioners will be holding an open house to celebrate the end of the $20 million jail construction project. The public is invited to the open house Tuesday, February 19th from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at the Becker County Jail, 1428 Stony Road, Detroit Lakes, located just off Highway 59 North.

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