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Houghton County Task Force Pursues Four Jail Options

The task force investigating replacement options for the outdated and overcrowded Houghton County jail is pursuing four possibilities.

Houghton County Commissioner Tom Tikkanen provided the board with an update at yesterday’s meeting.

The task force has split into sub-groups. One is revisiting an expansion proposal similar to that which was recently rejected by voters, which would enlarge the jail at its current site. One is looking into building a new facility that would house both the jail and the sheriff’s department across Dodge Street from the County Building. A third is investigating building a new complex that would include a jail, the sheriff’s department, and court operations somewhere within the Houghton city limits.

The fourth group is revisiting the possibility of moving the jail to the former state prison at Camp Kitwen, near Painesdale. The Camp Kitwen option had previously been ruled out, because of high renovation costs, high staffing and operations costs, and a state law that requires that the sheriff’s department be located within the city boundaries of the county seat.

Tikkanen told the board that the task force hopes to review research into the four options in late August.

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