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Vote Tonight on Madison County Jail Financing

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Madison County Jail
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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) - The 40-year-old Madison County Jail needs renovated but there is debate over what that renovation should include and how it should be paid for.

The Madison County Board is set to vote Wednesday night on issuing $18 million in bonds for the project.

“We don’t have a sprinkler system in there, we don’t have a ventilation system in case of fire to get the smoke out. Things of that nature. So it really becomes a life safety issue also,” Board Chair Alan Dunstan said.

Those opposed to the plans question why the renovation isn’t designed to add any beds since county officials point to overcrowding. The jail, which was designed to hold 100 inmates and now holds 300, is still passing state inspections but may not in upcoming years without the improvements.

Dunstan says a study to add a new wing has been conducted but he believes it will cost another $5-7 million, something the board isn’t ready to finance at this point.

Some have called for the bond issue to be placed on a ballot and decided by county voters. Dunstan says he isn’t opposed to that and that if organizers want to gather the required 18,000 petition signatures to put the issue on the ballot, “more power to them.”

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