Stearns County Jail is Beyond Capacity
Stearns County is in need of more jail space. Stearns County Sheriff Steve Soyka joined me on WJON. He says they have 130 inmates currently in the Stearns County Jail with another 20 housed in another neighboring county jail because they are beyond capacity here. Soyka says through the Department of Justice standards they can't keep all 150 inmates in Stearns County.
Soyka explains during the pandemic they had to furlough some non violent offenders to clear out space in the jail but they are now back to pre-pandemic levels. He says the county can hold people for 1 year and 1 day unless these individuals are awaiting trial. The Department of Corrections would require people move to the St. Cloud prison if they are no longer eligible to be housed at the Stearns County Jail.
Soyka says as the Stearns County Sheriff he has a problem with Stearns County residents paying for those 20 inmates to be housed at the jail outside the county. Stearns County is going through a jail space study. Soyka explains they have outgrown their space for not only inmates but for offices of staff. He says some locations that used to be storage closets are now offices with things being stored now in hallways. The jail space study looks at population, and crime treads into the future out to 2056. The study according to Soyka is calling for a 300 bed inmate capacity. Soyka indicates the location for this jail is still in question but they'd like to keep it in downtown St. Cloud near the courthouse. The current jail was designed in 1987.
Soyka says the public would want the county to have the ability to jail all of those who deserve jail time.
If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Stearns County Sheriff Steve Soyka it is available below.