In a report emailed to the county commissioners Monday afternoon, the Escambia County Corrections staff pointed out their concerns with the proposed jail design of W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company. They believe the vertical design of the second phase could create the need for more correctional officers, adding $639,000 to personnel costs annually.
The report said, “While both firms deviated from some of the recommendations made by the corrections team and DLR group, the most significant challenges and potential liability for staff, public and inmates identified by the Escambia County Corrections staff is the poor layout of the facility that Yates provided with the intention of expansion to Phase II going vertical.”
The staff was concerned about Yates’s location of pre-class on the fourth floor and juveniles on the ground floor near ACR/booking.
“While vertically, the design technically meets the separation of juveniles from ‘normal sight and sound,’ there is too much movement in that area that could potentially lead to bad results with a probability the juveniles inadvertently coming in contact with or near adults.”
When Phase II is added, the vertical design will require even more staff and cause further safety/response time issues, according to staff. They said that new jails avoid too many floors because they required costly elevators and make the delivery of food to the inmates a “nightmare.”
Furthermore, the corrections staff argues that relocating the pre-class housing unit to the fourth floor will require an additional 10 FTE correctional officers, resulting in a minimal of $639,000 of annual recurring personnel costs.
“Over the usual recommended usage span of a jail facility (which is generally 20-30 years), in calculating just those annual recurring personnel costs for 10 FTE’s (at todays loaded salary rate and not accounting for projected increases), we would be looking at $15,975,000 over a 25-year period simply for their relocation of a housing unit.”