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Winner considering jail expansion

WINNER -- A project to expand the Winner Jail could be getting closer to becoming a reality. According to city officials, at a recent city council meeting the council made an offer to purchase the American Legion building and land for $200,000 to...

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WINNER - A project to expand the Winner Jail could be getting closer to becoming a reality.

According to city officials, at a recent city council meeting the council made an offer to purchase the American Legion building and land for $200,000 to complete an expansion to the jail that sits just to the east.

The American Legion is set to meet on Monday to discuss the offer, and city officials were hesitant to speak about the project, citing ongoing negotiations. But Winner Police Chief Paul Schueth said the expansion would alleviate long-term space issues jail staff encounter. The issues aren't new or dire, he said, but need addressed.

"Our population hasn't grown, necessarily, but we don't have the space to separate people who may testify against each other and we don't have enough lockdown space," Schueth said. "We've been looking at different designs and options for the past couple of years, and hopefully we're getting closer."

The jail staffs 26 full-time corrections officers and three part-time officers, according to the city's website. The 132-bed facility provides services to several area counties and was last remodeled in 2005, according to the website. As of Monday, there were 89 inmates in the jail.

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Public meetings will likely be held in the future regarding the project, Schueth said, but details have yet to be finalized.

In addition to acquiring the American Legion building, the city's proposed plan includes tearing down the Masonic Temple, west of the law enforcement center.

If the American Legion agrees to the sale, Winner Mayor Frank Finney said the legion would relocate to the land that currently houses the Masonic Temple, remodeling work would be completed and it would be repurposed into a halfway house for clients of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. Those clients would include federal prisoners who are waiting to be relocated to different prisons across the country, Finney said.

According to Winner City Council minutes, the city has $600,000 allocated for the project.

"Every city in the country is looking for places to put prisoners," Finney said. "We're not unique, we're just making progress."

Related Topics: AMERICAN LEGION
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