The Pima County Blue Ribbon Commission will have an additional 60 days to report their findings on whether a new adult detention facility is necessary.
County Administrator Jan Lesher approved Commission Chair Daniel Sharp’s request for an extension Oct. 3, after Sharp wrote her letter saying that the commission needed more time.
“We are making good progress, but there have been some areas that are taking longer than expected,” he wrote.
County Administrator Jan Lesher said the delay is understandable because the ten commissioners are volunteers.
“I would rather take an additional 60 days at this point and make sure we’re getting it done right, rather than to try to hurry something just to meet the initial deadline,” Lesher said.
The county chartered the commission earlier this year to scope the issues currently facing the Pima County Jail, a facility that has seen an unusual number of deaths in recent years.
Lesher said the commissioners have spent the last six months assessing the state of the existing building and its operations, as well as possible funding opportunities for a new jail.
As for the final decision, Lesher said that the application of the commissions’ findings could extend beyond just a physical building.
“A new jail doesn’t just mean a physical jail, a new jail can mean a new way of doing business. How do we have a facility that accommodates “new,” not only from construction but potentially operations?” she said.
If recommended by the commission, initial estimates say the new jail could cost up to $400 million dollars.
In the meantime, the members will finish the initial findings report and then receive public comment, which will then be used to produce a final draft, expected to be sometime in late November.