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Johnson County Prepares to Clear Out Jail Inmates

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Johnson County Board of Supervisors has given its approval to begin plans to temporarily clear out the entire jail. Officials are planning the mass clear out so they can make improvements at the aging facility.

"It'll take some planning," said Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek. "We really need to get an early start on it."

Pulkrabek said he hopes to move the inmates this summer. Work would need to be done before the start of football season, which is the busiest time of the year at the jail.

"We'd have to find other jails where we can put them," Pulkrabek said.

Johnson County already contracts with the Muscatine County Jail to handle their overflow. Currently about half of Johnson County's 120 inmates are in Muscatine.

Work at the jail would include improvements to the commend center and locking devices, county chairperson Terrence Neuzil said. The improvements would not increase space. Officials have already budgeted more than $1 million to cover the cost of the work.

Officials still need to figure out the logistics of handling new inmates during the work period, Pulkrabek said.

County leaders are also moving forward with a plan to add a $30 million annex to the existing courthouse. They will likely ask voters for approval in November. Votes have rejected previous attempts to seek approval for renovations and upgrades as part of the Johnson County Justice Center.

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