Otsego County Left with No Solution for Overcrowded Jail

Months after people in Otsego County voted against building a new jail, the county is still looking for a solution for the overcrowding issue.

The Otsego County Jail has only 32 beds, and that number won’t be going up any time soon as they won’t have anything on the ballot in November.

Voters haven’t felt what the county has proposed in previous millages is in their best interest.

“The public has spoken in the past so we’re just trying to figure out what the public can get on board with, what they’ll stand behind with us so that we can move forward with the infrastructure of Otsego County,” said Matt Muladore, Otsego County Undersheriff.Otsego County Sheriff Logo

Despite efforts from the sheriff’s department, the jail stays full with no way to take in more inmates.

“We’re still using all of our jail diversion techniques that we have with work cam and drug court, things like that, but all of those systems are maxed out in Otsego County,” said Muladore.

Otsego County is seeing an increase in repeat offenders, even for more serious crimes such as selling methamphetamine or criminal sexual conduct, because they’re often released within a day or two.

“We deal with recidivism in law enforcement so you’re releasing those people back out on the street that may not always violate the law again and come back to our jail but we do see a lot of that,” Muladore stated.

“The recidivism rate is going to increase just because of lack of sanctions when it comes to certain felony crimes,” said Cpt. Brian Webber, jail administrator.

Other counties like Montmorency County have decided to merge their jail with another, but that’s something Otsego County has taken off the table.