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North Central Regional Jail prepares for spring opening

by James Fisher

REGIONAL WRITER

WEST UNION -- Despite a fairly harsh winter, local and state jail officials are optimistic that the new North Central Regional Jail will begin accepting prisoners before summer officially begins.

While state Regional Jail Authority Executive Director Steve Canterbury hedged his bet by not picking a specific date, he held firm to his "late spring" prognostication.

"I'm giving them every moment possible to finish everything," he said.

Jail Administrator Tim Bowen said work was able to continue through the winter because all four pods were under roof before bad weather set in. The last part of outside work that needs to be completed is the aesthetic landscaping, he said.

"Some areas of the inside are nearly complete," he said. "We've got walls painted, tile on the floors and we're just about there."

For the past several weeks, Bowen has been traveling the region talking with county officials about several things related to the opening of the jail. Among those issues was staffing for the new facility.

"Any of their officers who want to come work for us are entitled to. Right now, we've got about 65 officers signed up to transfer from the county jails to the regional jail," he said, while noting that the sign-up deadline has passed.

In the same vein, Bowen said he has been discussing a training schedule with county officials. County officers need to attend a three-week on-the-job training course, he said, and he didn't want to burden the counties with reduced staffing. So, regional jail officers will be temporarily assigned to county jails as their officers attend the course, he said.

Regional writer James Fisher can be reached at 626-1446 or by e-mail at jfisher@exponent-telegram.com.

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