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Houghton County Forming Jail Taskforce To Explore Options

Houghton County will once again explore options for solving the overcrowding at the jail starting with the formation of a Houghton County Jail Taskforce.

The taskforce will look at all viable options, including the costs to renovate Camp Kitwin into a suitable county jail with an estimate of the costs associated with running that facility.

They will also consider the cost to construct an entirely new courthouse and jail complex at a new location as well as the cost to construct a new jail at the former Houghton High School playground site with an option for including district court facilities.

Voters turned down an $11 million bond proposal to build an addition onto the existing jail last November by a slim margin, and soundly defeated a proposal in 2010 to build a new courthouse and jail facility for $15 million.

The taskforce will consist of all five county commissioners, the Houghton County Sheriff, Undersheriff, and Jail Captain.

In addition, the taskforce will include a representative from each of the 14 Houghton County Townships, the Villages of Calumet, Laurium, Copper City, Lake Linden, and South Range, the cities of Houghton and Hancock, two law enforcement officials from units other than the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office, the League of Women Voters, Copper Country Community Mental Health, and the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce.

The board would also like to involve the local courts, jail inmate services, parole and probation, indigent defense, and other entities that could provide valuable input.

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