Sheriff's Office
Dustin D. Heuerman, County Sheriff

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Sheriff's Office Master Planning

Master Planning Process Overview Return to top

The County Board began the process of reviewing its jail facilities in 2011. The County Board has cautiously and thoroughly engaged in the development of that review. In 2012, the County Board appointed a Community Justice Task Force to provide recommendations, and hired the Institute for Law and Policy Planning (ILPP) to conduct a Criminal Justice System Assessment.

Pursuant to the recommendations of the ILPP and Community Justice Task Force Reports, the County Board has engaged in the establishment and planning for additional programming, and completely supports plans for programs that provide alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders and people afflicted with mental health and substance abuse issues.

  • In 2014, the County Board began funding a Re-Entry Program and awarded an annual grant of $100,000 to Community Elements for the development and implementation of a re-entry program - which is now entering into its 2nd year of funding and operation.
  • In FY2015, the County Board is actively engaged in identifying how an Adult Assessment Center could be created to better serve the needs of individuals with mental health and/or other issues which result in their being brought to jail because there is no other community resource for local police agencies to take them to when they are engaged in disturbing the peace. The County Board is committed to working with municipalities, health care providers and social service organizations in the development of a plan for this initiative. (A model for such an assessment center for juveniles exists in Champaign County with the Youth Assessment Center, which is primarily funded by the County Board.)

While recognizing the need for alternative programs, the County Board also faces the challenge of maintaining an appropriate jail facility that will most effectively meet the community’s need for incarcerating offenders who are a risk to the public safety; and at the same time to provide appropriate resources to those individuals while they are in custody. Today’s jail houses individuals with serious mental health and medical issues, and the current physical facilities lack the resources and space to appropriately meet the needs of that population. To address this statutory responsibility of providing an appropriate jail facility, the County Board has taken the following actions:

  • Hired ILPP to conduct a Criminal Justice System Assessment, which report clearly indicates that the County Board should abandon the downtown jail. This recommendation was also made by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC). Pursuant to the ILPP Report, the County Board moved forward by contracting for a Sheriff’s Operations Master Plan to be conducted, as a next step in addressing jail facilities issues.
  • The results of the Sheriff’s Operations Master Plan confirm previous studies, that the County Board is advised to close the downtown facility and replace those beds by expanding the satellite jail facility, in order to place all jail operations under one roof. This produces economies of operation – most notably in staffing and utilities costs. The Master Plan recommends a total of 307 beds, where the current capacity of the two jail facilities is 313 beds.
  • The County Board will, in the months ahead, make decisions about how best to move forward with the jail facilities plan. Delay in moving forward could increase the cost to the taxpayers as there are major renovations and repairs that will have to be made to the downtown facility if the County is required to maintain it as a jail facility for longer than 3-4 years – the amount of time required to plan and construct the consolidation of the jail operation at the Satellite Jail Facility.

As documented in the ILPP Report, Champaign County’s rate of incarceration is already low. The County’s average daily jail population is 27% lower than that of six peer counties in Illinois. When compared to counties which are considered model counties for programs addressing jail population issues, the County is at 1.1 jail inmates per 1,000 population; Bear County, Texas is at 1.9; Mecklenburg County, North Carolina is at 2; and Lee County, Florida is at 2.5.

Reports and Documents Return to top