- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

PENDER, Neb. (AP) - If voters approve, Thurston County will build a 34-bed jail to replace the old jail that has housed prisoners in the courthouse basement since the 1920s.

The Sioux City (Iowa) Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1ECXuFQ ) the Board of Supervisors decided last week to place a $5.9 million bond measure on the April 14 ballot.

Officials say the old 25-bed jail doesn’t meet modern standards for inmate care and security. The replacement would be built in Pender.

Supervisor Leonard Peters says Thurston County has letters of commitment from Burt, Cuming, Dixon, Stanton and Wayne counties to house inmates in a new Thurston County Jail. Peters told the paper that $200,000 would be brought annually to the county by housing inmates from other counties.

There is opposition to the issue by the Winebago and Omaha tribes. Board member Darren Wolfe, of Macy, told the newspaper that the tribes would not send their inmates to the new jail. The tribes wanted the new jail to be built in Walthill, which is closer to tribal courts.

“It’s still a matter of economics for me because the tribes aren’t going to participate in it,” Wolfe said. He also questioned the need for a new jail if prisoners from other counties are needed to fill it.”Are we doing that to help other counties? How is that helping our county?”

A public information meeting will take place in every town in the county prior to the vote on the bond measure.

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Information from: Sioux City (Iowa) Journal, www.siouxcityjournal.com

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